Mar 14, 2011
The costs of segregating genetically modified (GM) and conventional crops are much higher than originally thought, and could push up food prices, warns Friends of the Earth Europe in a new briefing.
'The socio-economic effects of GMOs' reveals the hidden costs of GM crop cultivation that are being unfairly pushed onto conventional and organic sectors – risking further GMO-contamination and increased food prices – and comes as environment ministers meet to discuss GM-crops in Europe.
Environment ministers will assess the legality of banning the cultivation of GM-crops on their territories, but the discussion must take into account the full social and economic impacts of growing GM crops, and not be based on industry-biased models.
Mute Schimpf food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe says:
"The true environmental and economic costs of GM-crops must be taken into account when discussing GM-crop cultivation in Europe. The biotech industry must be held accountable for damage done through cross contamination – the costs must not be unfairly pushed onto farmers, consumers and taxpayers."
European policy relies on the assumption that non-GMO stakeholders in the food industry pay for all measures to secure their GMO-free status. Official EU research concludes that the segregation of GM-crops from conventional products could increase product costs by up to 13%, but the real figure is far higher.
New research from Friends of the Earth Europe shows key costs involved in segregation are not reflected in EU research. The costs incurred for maintaining GMO and conventional separation, including monitoring and testing, far outweigh any projected economic benefits of lower production costs.
Mute Schimpf added:
"99.9 percent of European land remains GM-free, and widespread opposition to genetically modified crops and foods in Europe continues to grow. GM-crops will hinder, not help, in the challenge to ensure we can feed a growing global population. Decision makers must call for an end to further GM-crop cultivation in Europe – ensuring a vibrant rural economy and greener farming."
Friends of the Earth Europe calls for a moratorium on all GMO cultivation approvals until the socio-economic impact assessment of GMOs is integrated into the EU approval system, alongside strict and compulsory anti-contamination measures in all European countries. All costs to prevent GM-contamination must be covered by the polluters.
Mar 01, 2011
Governments are being forced to protect farmers and citizens from genetically modified crops (GM crops) to combat biotech corporations’ stranglehold over farmers, and health scares from escalating pesticide use, according to our latest report.
The report, launched on the eve of the release of industry-sponsored figures on the adoption of GM crops, highlights how even pro-GM governments in South America and the United States have been forced to take steps to mitigate the negative impacts of GM crops on farmers, citizens and the environment.
In South America, the Brazilian Government has launched a GM-free soy programme to help farmers access non-GM soy seeds. In Argentina new research has exposed that the herbicide Glyphosate, used on the majority of GM crops grown worldwide, could have severe negative impacts on human health. This has led to bans on spraying of the herbicide near people’s homes. In Uruguay, local areas are declaring themselves GM-free.
Friends of the Earth International Food Sovereignty coordinator Martin Drago said,
"Farmers and citizens in South America are bearing the burden of ten years of GM crops with widespread health disasters and rising costs. The myths on which the biotech industry is built are crumbling.
The havoc wreaked across South America shows that this technology is not compatible with sustainable farming. It is a wake up call for the rest of the world to move towards more ecological methods of farming."
Read "Who Benefits from GM crops? An industry built on myths"