GM crops are declining in Europe

May 2011

Wir haben es satt  - 39
Protest in Germany.
Picture Michaela Muegge on Flickr
In February this year, Friends of the Earth Europe prepared a report on the extent of cultivation of GM crops in the EU over the last three years (2008 – 2010).

The trends are interesting.

Spain, which is the only Member State to grow GM crops on any scale, has steadily reduced the area devoted to biotech crops. The 2010 area was 15% smaller than in 2008.

The next biggest GM player, the Czech Republic, has also steadily reduced its GM acreage by 42% over two years.


Romania, which was once the biggest GM grower in Europe, has reduced its GM crop area by a whopping 87%. This is highly significant because in 2005 when the country was trying to join the European Union, it was considered by the US ambassador as a “unique ... pioneer of biotechnology”, which could be helped to enter the EU “with a well-developed biotechnology sector and an educated population which understands the merits of biotechnology.” In other words, Romania was being groomed to be a US Trojan horse to force GM crops into Europe.

Wikileaks has revealed that pressure from America extended to manipulating Romania's National Consumer Protection Agency, its media, and even some NGOs into supporting a GMO trust-inducing programme with the aim of exposing the population to “positive messages regarding GMOs”. US intervention included judicious use of GM-friendly parliamentarians, the establishment of a new biotech lobby group, a traveling senator making speeches on the need for GM to “fight hunger especially in the African countries”, and pro-GM seminars in important science centres. Despite all this, Romanian GM agriculture has now all but collapsed.

Germany which is important because of its size and status has reduced GM cultivation by 99% (the 1% remaining is non-food GM potatoes)

Slovakia, already a small player in the GM field, has reduced its biotech crop area by 55%.

Finally, Sweden has a very small acreage of non-food GM potatoes, Portugal hasn't changed, and Poland doesn't seem to have changed over the three years but no official figures for GM acres grown there are actually available.

OUR COMMENT

There are distinct signs here that farmers in Europe have stopped listening to the biotech industry and are putting people first: see PROGRESS IN CYPRUS, MADIERA, SWEDEN, AND SCOTLAND, May 2011. Now that they're getting the message, make your voice heard and make sure the shift back to non-GM crops continues.

SOURCES:
  • GM crops continue to fail in Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe Fact Sheet 22.02.11
  • Wikileaks – GM Food Romania, Trojan horse for USA in Europe, www.adevarul.ro, 31.03.11

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