Stop GMO and Protect Food Sovereignty in Thailand

Press release - December 3, 2015
Bangkok, 1st December 2015 – The draft Biosafety Act B.E....., proposed by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (MREN), was approved by the cabinet on the 24th November 2015. However, the draft Biosafety bill is waiting for an approval from the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) for final consideration. This bill has also been widely protested against by the public sector, the affected business groups, civil society organizations, farmers, and the government sector such as the Ministry of Commerce and the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board.

Watcharapol Daengsubha, Food and Ecological Agriculture Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said: “This draft bill is a threat to Thailand’s biodiversity with immense detrimental impacts on the agricultural sector affecting both farmers and exporters. And the bill’s loophole makes it possible for exploitation by the multinational seed corporations.
The twenty years of commercial use of the genetically modified (GM) crops translates to twenty years of failure (1) because:

  • There are no GM crops designed to deliver high yields. GM crops are ill-adapted to solve the problems underpinning hunger and malnutrition. It reinforces the industrial agriculture model that has failed to feed the world so far.
  • GM crops are NOT the key to climate resilience because climate resilience heavily depends on farming practices promoting diversity and nurturing the soil, not on the over-simplified farming system, GM crops are designed for.
  • GM crops pose risks for humans and the environment. Long term environmental, health monitoring and impact studies either do not exist or are inadequate. Independent researchers complain that they are denied access to material for research. 
  • GM crops compound pest problems. After a few years of introducing GM crops into the environment, problems such as pest resistance and herbicide-resistant weeds emerge in response to herbicide tolerant and insect resistant GM crops, resulting in the application of additional pesticides. 
  • GM crops are NOT economically viable for farmers. GM seed prices are protected by patents and their prices have soared over the last 20 years. The emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds, increases farmers’ costs, reducing their economic profit even further. 
  • GM crops CANNOT coexist with ecological agriculture systems. Nearly 400 incidents of GM contamination have been recorded globally so far. (2) Staying GM-free imposes considerable additional, and sometimes impossible, costs for farmers. 
  • GM crops are NOT the most promising pathway of innovation for the food system. Non-GM advanced methods of plant breeding are already delivering the sorts of traits promised by GM crops, including resistance to diseases, flood and drought tolerance. GM crops are not only ineffective type of innovation but they also restrict innovation due to intellectual property rights owned by a handful of multinational corporations. 

Greenpeace Southeast Asia urges the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to put an end to any further consideration of passsing the Biosafety Bill and guarantee that any future law and policy making will uphold utmost safety and ensure public participation.

Note to editors:

  2. Price, B., & Cotter, J. 2014. The GM Contamination Register: a review of recorded contamination incidents associated with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), 1997-2013. International Journal of Food Contamination, 1: 5.

Media Contacts:
Watcharapol Daengsubha, Food and Ecological Agriculture Campainger, Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Tel: +66 81 734 4435

Somrudee Panasudtha, Media Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Tel:+66 81 929 5747