Russia's GM moratorium

May 2014

Picture of a wheat field with Russian Orthodox church in background
Picture from Creative Commons
An expectation that Russia would begin planting GM crops this summer as part of its accession to the World Trade Organisation seems to have been derailed by scepticism.

Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, has now announced a three-year extension to this previous GM start-date.

In addition, the agri-sector will be widely monitored for products and seeds which have already infiltrated there, despite existing strict restrictions.

The move recognises that there is still considerable doubt about the safety of GM foods for human health, about preservation of crop diversity in a GM agri-system, about the sustainability of GM-associated pest control, and about GM's true financial benefits and environmental side-effects.

What's needed is careful control and monitoring, and these require laboratories and an entire system of certification.  Russia just doesn't have the infrastructure to proceed with GM crops.  Three years breathing space will allow these to be put in place.

However, Russia's also questioning whether it need go down the GM route at all.

Realistically, the country has enough agricultural land, the capacity and the will to go organic.  It has no obvious reason to develop GM crops, to encourage GM-crop use, nor to import GM products.

Medvedev described his position succinctly: GM...
“may be an absolute evil or pose no real problem.  We need to see what happens in the next few years. Russia can feed itself without any GM products.”

OUR COMMENT


It seems Russia is taking a very measured stance on GM crops, and is clearly sensitive to public concern.

America leapt into GM agriculture without considering any of the questions on health, crop diversity, sustainability, true costs, or the environment to which Russia is looking for an answer before it leaps too.


The US administration has so far avoided any need to be sensitive to public concern by making sure no one knows what they're eating. This tactic is now clearly falling apart and the latest initiative to deal with the consumer demand for a little more frankness about their food is FRANKLY BIZARRE - June 2014

SOURCES

  • Russia postpones planting of GMOs by 3 years, Russia Today, 22.04.14
  • Russia will not import GMO products - PM Medvedev, Russia Today, 6.04.14

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