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Feb 07, 2012

Organic farming dwarves GM crops in Europe as public rejection hits biotech firms

by PhilLee — last modified Feb 07, 2012 10:40 AM

Public resistance to genetically modified crops has ensured that the area grown in Europe in 2011 remained at 0.1 per cent of all arable land, shows figures released by Friends of the Earth Europe. In comparison, organic farming accounted for 3.7 per cent.

Ralph Rayner, UK - 9th place (tied)A ripening field of organic barley in the United Kingdom with hedges for diverse plant and animal life. The figures follow recent announcements of the biotech industry retreating from parts of Europe.


Mute Schimpf, food campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: 


“The public’s rejection of genetically modified crops has ensured that they are confined to small pockets of the European Union. Politicians need to listen to public opinion and throw their weight behind the demand for greener and safer farming. Genetically modified crops should play no role in the future of Europe’s farming.”


Last month the world’s biggest chemical company, BASF, announced that it was halting the development and commercialisation of genetically modified crops in Europe. It said its decision was due to, “lack of acceptance for this technology in many parts of Europe – from the majority of consumers, farmers and politicians”.


Similarly Monsanto announced that it would not sell its genetically modified maize, MON810, in France in 2012, and beyond.


Resistance to genetically modified crops isn’t restricted to Europe. People worldwide are objecting to the power of the biotech companies and their push to control the global food chain.


“The evidence against genetically modified crops continues to grow. Since their introduction in the Americas, herbicide use has rocketed as farmers try to control fast evolving super-weeds, now resistant to many chemicals. Communities and nature are paying the price of the resulting pollution. The biotech system of farming is a dead-end and will fail to meet the needs of the future,” Mute concluded. 


Further reading

Jan 17, 2012

GM giant BASF leaves Europe

by PhilLee — last modified Jan 17, 2012 02:41 PM

Friends of the Earth International is delighted to hear that Germany-based BASF is halting the development and commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe.

keeping europe gm-freeSpeaking on 16 January, the day of the announcement, Adrian Bebb, from Friends of the Earth Europe said: 


"This is another nail in the coffin for genetically modified foods in Europe. No one wants to eat them and few farmers want to grow them. This is a good day for consumers and farmers and opens the door for the European Union to shift Europe to greener and more publicly acceptable farming."

In its announcement BASF states that it has stopped the commercialisation of the Amflora potato, the GM crop licensed by John Dalli, Health and Consumer Commissioner in 2010. However, in the first year of cultivation the potatoes were contaminated with an unlicensed GM variety by BASF and withdrawn from the market.

Adrian Bebb continued:


"This is an embarrassment for Commissioner John Dalli. On coming into office he nailed his name to the GM mast, and approved BASF’s GM potato for commercial growing. Two years later, BASF has pulled the plug and the decline of GMOs continues."

further information

Find out more about Friends of the Earth Europe's GM campaign


Jan 12, 2012

European banks fuelling food price volatility and hunger

by PhilLee — last modified Jan 12, 2012 11:16 AM

European banks, pension funds and insurance companies are increasing global hunger and poverty by speculating on food prices and financing land grabs in poorer countries, according to a report by Friends of the Earth Europe.

food sovereignty agenda The report analyses the activities of 29 European banks, pension funds and insurance companies, including Deutsche Bank, Barclays, RBS, Allianz, BNP Paribas, AXA, HSBC, Generali, Allianz, Unicredit and Credit Agricole. It reveals the significant involvement of these financial institutions in food speculation, and the direct or indirect financing of land grabbing. Environmental and development organisations are calling for strict regulation to rein in these destructive activities.


Read the report

Daniel Pentzlin, sustainable finance campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Food speculation and the financing of land grabbing leads to a catastrophic instability in global food prices – forcing millions of people into poverty and hunger. European banks, insurers and funds that speculate with food and land are gambling with peoples’ lives whilst reaping huge profits. This industry needs strict regulation to protect the poorest in society.”


Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on financial institutions to investigate, publish and reduce their involvement in food speculation and investments in land. Banks, pension funds and insurers should phase-out and refrain from speculating in financial products based on staple foods, which threatens the human right to food. European regulators should introduce caps on the size of bets speculators can make to curb excessive speculation.


Read the report