Tageszeitung (Taz) / 31 May 2013
Monsanto in Europe
The U.S. seed company will not fight that its GM crops to be cultivated in Europe. GM opponents seek other
The anti-GM movement has won the most decisive victory: for similar decisions of its competitors also the world’s largest seed producer Monsanto has given up the fight for GM crops in Europe.
“We do not make lobbying more for cultivation in Europe,” said the spokesman of Monsanto’s EU office, Brandon Mitchener, the taz. “Currently we do not plan to apply for the approval of new genetically modified crops.” In addition, the U.S. company would forgo new field trials with this seed.
“We understand that at the moment does not have the wide acceptance,” added the spokeswoman for Monsanto Germany, Ursula Lüttmer-Ouazane. “It is counterproductive to fight against windmills.” According to Mitchener demand of farmers is too low. In Germany this is due to the fact that since 2009 no gene plant Monsanto may be more cultivated.
Another reason is that foods are virtually unsaleable with GM crops because of the rejection by the consumer. Consumers fear – yet unproven – damage to health, but also an agriculture that can place more emphasis on environmentally harmful monocultures of GM seeds. Monsanto will however continue the GM maize MON810 in Spain, Portugal and Romania to sell, where the acceptance was greater, said the company spokesman.
Next protest against imports of GM food
The group also wanted to still apply to the EU registrations that European farmers must import food with genetically modified plants of the Group as from South America. However, the company was concentrating on Europe for conventional seed corn, canola and vegetables.
Monsanto’s competitors Bayer CropScience, BASF and Syngenta had previously largely withdrawn its business with GM crops in Germany. A wide protest movement had contributed to the federal Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner (CSU) 2009 forbade the cultivation of MON810. Currently in Germany, no GM crops are grown.
Greenpeace welcomed Monsanto’s explanation, but announced to continue to fight against the imports of GM food. The most well-known militant GM opponents Jörg Bergstedt said: “The national resistance to genetic engineering will pause for now.” Many activists would now look for other priorities, for example against animal feedlots or gas exploration through fracking.
Minister Aigner told the taz with: “For agriculture in Europe, the promises made by genetic engineering industry have not been met.” The rural affairs of the FDP parliamentary group, Christel Happach-Kazan, however said: “Monsanto’s decision is a loss for Germany and Europe. “the economy will suffer. Pest-resistant corn about could make agriculture more environmentally friendly.