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Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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European Union decision limits innovation in agriculture

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Earlier today, the European Union (EU) amended the laws to allow its’ member state governments from one side to make their own decisions permitting cultivation of individual GM crops at national or regional level and at the same time let other states restrict or prohibit cultivation of individual GM crops at national or regional level for political reasons. This is despite the fact that the EU’s own regulatory experts, as well as other experts around the world, have declared them safe and GM crops have been used successfully around the globe-including in EU-for the past 20 years.

Since the European Union first authorized GM cultivation in 1998, EU approval allowed the planting of GM crops anywhere in the European Union.  National bans on the cultivation of GM crops required scientific justification, and for this reason, no legal bans existed, because these were routinely rejected by the European courts and European Food Safety Authority.

Monsanto’s seed business in Europe is focused on the development and sale of conventional seed and we expect that to remain our focus, even in light of today’s developments. Sadly, we believe that these new rules will simply make it easier for some EU Member States to ban products that have been proven safe for purely political reasons. We remain open to consider broadening our commercial offerings for the foreseeable future, if, in light of these new rules, individual countries choose to pursue GM cultivation.

It is our position that amendments like this undermine a stable regulatory framework which is needed to drive and attract further investments. Ultimately, this will effectively limit farmer access to important technologies and impede global progress in agriculture by elevating threats to needed innovations and by increasing risks to the global food supply chain.

GM technology in agriculture and food production continues to be adopted elsewhere in the world at a rapid pace.  And that’s why it’s important that regulatory and political frameworks around the globe are science-based. 

In the coming decades, agriculture’s ability to meet the demands of our growing global population sustainably will be crucial.  We are focused on working with others to deliver agricultural solutions that address the world’s biggest agricultural challenges, while helping farmers use water and land more efficiently. Innovation is central to helping them do more with less, and to manage the challenges that prevent food and crops from making it to harvest.  While genetic modification is not the only solution, it is one of many tools, including precision planting, data analysis technology, and microbial and biological solutions, that can help these farmers, as they work every day to grow better harvests for the growing global population.

It is for these reasons that we remain committed to sustainable agriculture. We believe in providing farmers across the globe with innovative tools that help them grow better harvests and making balanced meals more accessible.

Decisión de la Unión Europea limita la innovación en la agricultura

Related:

Europa Bio: A Stop Sign for Innovation.

UK Parliament: EU regulation on GM Organisms not “fit for purpose.”

Britain’s National Farmers Union: Results of European Parliament Vote on GM Crops.

U.K. Science Media Centre: Expert reaction to the Science and Technology Select Committee report on GM regulation.

Scientist Jonathan Jones: GM regulation ‘not fit for purpose’, says Commons committee – and it’s right.

The Telegraph : EU scientific adviser sacked over her pro-GM views.

EurActiv: MEPs, NGOs at odds over effects of Europe’s GM0 stance on developing world.

2 Responses to "European Union decision limits innovation in agriculture"

  1. Dear Madam/Sir,
    I think the European Union is so far right in blocking certain varieties. Roundup-ready is only a temporary solution. Everybody involved in agriculture knows that sooner or later this effectiviness of Roundup will be broken causing a whole lot of new problems, for example knapweed in USA but also in Kazakhstan I saw. I do not see much developments from Monsanto in varieties for example which can withstand saline soils or low tropical pH or did I miss something? I am active in international dairy development in rich and poor countries and I think in the last ones nobody can afford every year to buy your seeds so I am not very much in favour of patents on poison resistant varieties.
    I would prefer to see Monsanto more supporting in international projects and put your money in there for just sustainable agriculture in developing countries in a conventional way (still a lot to win). It would help you more in the long run than sponsoring politics in USA.

    Best regards, Ben Braakman

    Reply
  2. Dear Monsanto,

    Is it possible that many Europeans simply don’t want your technological innovations in their food? Polls suggest that’s the case, both in Europe and the U.S. If so, then rejecting your innovations for political reasons seems perfectly reasonable, and the proper outcome of the democratic processes in most European countries. (And don’t worry — we’ll get there in the U.S. too.) In the developing world, where educational and democratic political institutions are not necessarily so robust, it may be more practicable for Monsanto and its allies to promote your innovations, provided that government officials remain tractable and capable of deploying harsher or more manipulative tools of government coercion.

    Reply

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