Monsanto set to halt GMO push in Europe

2 Jun

In line with Prem Sikka’s experience that in the digital era it may well be possible to mobilise alternative citizen centres of power . . .

mexico biotech protestAs thousands in Mexico protested against Monsanto by throwing a carnival of corn, and an estimated two million people across 50 countries participated last week in the global March Against Monsanto , Reuters reports that European officials for the St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto told the German daily “Taz” that they were no longer doing any lobby work for cultivation in Europe and not seeking any new approvals for genetically modified plants.

“We’ve come to the conclusion that this has no broad acceptance at the moment,” Monsanto Germany spokeswoman, Ursula Lüttmer-Ouazane, told Taz. Monsanto corporate spokesman Thomas Helscher said on Friday that the company is making it clear that it will only pursue market penetration of biotech crops in areas that provide broad support.

“We’re going to sell the GM seeds only where they enjoy broad farmer support, broad political support and a functioning regulatory system,” Helscher told Reuters. “As far as we’re convinced this only applies to a few countries in Europe today, primarily Spain and Portugal.” German protest actions have been well attended- see below:

german biotech protest

Russia Today adds:

“A spokeswoman for Monsanto Germany, Ursula Luttmer-Ouazane, admitted that Monsanto recognizes that GMO crops were currently not embraced on the European market. “We’ve understood that such plants don’t have any broad acceptance in European societies, Luttmer-Ouazane said. It is counterproductive to fight against windmills,” she added.

”A spokesperson for the German Ministry of Economy and Technologies described the move as an “entrepreneurial decision” which needed no further comment. The ministry added, however, it has long made its opposition to gene modification technologies known.

“The promises of the GM industry have not come true for European agriculture, nor have they for the agriculture in developing and emerging economies,” the ministry said in a statement.

Austria, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg and most recently Poland & Italy are among other EU member states enforcing the ban on Monsanto’s MON810 maize and other forms of GMO cultivation in their countries under an environmental protection provision known as the ‘Safeguard Clause’.

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Monsanto’s rivals, such as Bayer CropScience, BASF and Syngenta, had already largely pulled out of the German market because of large-scale public opposition, the German daily reported.

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