EU farmers ditch GM crops

Industry figures show drop in cultivation

Press release - February 22, 2011
Brussels, International — Industry data released on Tuesday is expected to confirm that farmers are abandoning GM crops in Europe, following a trend of increasing public rejection in the EU, said Greenpeace. The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), a biotech industry-funded body, will publish its annual report on the acreage of land planted with GM crops, showing continued decline in GM cultivation in Europe.

Official figures from the European Union show that in 2010, the GM maize cultivation acreage in the EU declined by 13% compared to the previous year. [1] ISAAA figures that will be released later today are expected to closely mirror this decline. The sharpest decline took place in Romania (-75% compared to 2009) and the Czech Republic (-28% compared to 2009). In 2009, the ISAAA had also reported a 12% EU-wide decline compared to 2008. [2]

The cultivation of Monsanto’s GM maize MON810 is currently banned in seven EU countries due to environmental and health risks. [3] Cultivation of Amflora, BASF’s antibiotic-resistant GM potato, the only other crop authorised in Europe since March last year, is restricted to only 268 hectares (or the equivalent of 375 football pitches) in Sweden, Germany and the Czech Republic, with cultivation expected to decline to under 20 hectares in 2011. [4] Meanwhile, public rejection of GM crops in Europe has increased to 61%, according to EU polls. [5]

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy adviser Stefanie Hundsdorfer said: “Today’s European data shows that GM crops are failing in the field and on the market. Farmers and consumers are not falling for biotech industry propaganda. GM crops are not more productive and are less resistant to extreme climate conditions than normal crops. They do however present a serious risk for our environment.”

Commercial GM cultivation in Europe – 2010

Cultivation of GM maize:


2009 (ha) (1) 

2010 (ha)

Change 2009 - 2010

Spain (2)




Portugal (3)




Czech Republic (4)




Poland (5)




Slovakia (6)




Romania (7)





Maize overall (ha)





(1)    All GM cultivation figures for 2009 presented here are from: International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications” (ISAAA). Global status of Commercialized biotech/GM Crops: 2009. By Clive James, ISAAA brief 4, p. 182.

(2)    Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino. 2010. Superficie en hectareas de variedades maiz g.m. que se encuentran incluidas en el registro de variedades comerciales (Spanish Ministry of Agriculture)

(3)    Ministério da Agricultura, do Desenvolvimento Rural e das Pescas, cultivo de Milho geneticamente modificado em 2010, dados nacionais. (Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture)

(4)    Ministerstva zemědělství (Czech Ministry of Agriculture) (

(5)    In Poland, no official figures on GM cultivation are available. According to media reports, the total acreage of MON810 cultivation in Poland in 2009 was 3000 hectares. (

(6)    Ministerstvo pôdohospodárstva (Slovak Ministry of Agriculture): (

(7)    Ministerul Agriculturii directia generala si dezvoltarii rurale politici agricole. (Romanian Ministry of Agriculture) (

Cultivation of the GM potato Amflora in 2010 (in ha):

Czech Republic (1)


Sweden (2)


Germany (3)



Overall  (ha)



(1)    Ministerstva zemědělství (Czech Ministry of Agriculture) (

(2)    Jordbruksverket (Swedish Board of Agriculture): 103 hectares were registered for cultivation in 2010. There are no official figures confirming that these hectares have actually been cultivated. Other sources also talk about 80 hectares of cultivation: Swedish farmers magazine:; Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie’ (Flemish Institute for Biotechnology):

(3)    Official public register by the German government:


Notes to editor

[1] See tables below.
[2] ISAAA, global status of commercialized biotech/GM Crops: 2009. By Clive James, ISAAA brief 4, pp. 181-182.
[3] Countries with a ban on MON810 are: Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Luxembourg and Bulgaria.
[5] Special Eurobarometer 341 - 73.1 on Biotechnology.



Mark Breddy - Communications manager, +32 2 274 19 03, +32 496 15 62 29,    

Stefanie Hundsdorfer - EU Political Advisor, +32 2 274 19 20,  +32 496 16 15 82, 

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