Czechs and Slovaks to Continue GM Crops Production
Published on Jan 16 2015 1:21 PM in Fresh Produce
Czech Republic and Slovakia could be among the few countries that would allow genetically engineered crops, according to Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director.
In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Marco Contiero said that following the European Parliament granted EU countries greater individual freedom over the use of genetically modified (GM) crops, countries already allowing the production of GM crops will most likely continue in this policy.
Today slightly less than 0.1 per cent of European agricultural land is used to produce GE crops, according to Greenpeace.
Seventeen years since the first authorization for cultivation in Europe the number of countries allowing cultivation of GM crops went down to only five, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. Some 92 per cent of European GM crops are grown in Spain.
In Slovakia, the cultivation of GM crops hiked 311 per cent between 2013 and 2014, from 100 hectares to 411 hectares, according to infogm.org. Czech Republic grows genetically engineered crops on 1,754 hectares.
Only MON 810, the genetically modified maize, is at present cultivated in the EU. In 2010 a second GMO, a potato called Amflora, was approved for cultivation for industrial applications in the EU by the European Commission and was grown in the Czech Republic, until in 2013, the EU’s General Court banned it.
Slovak and Czech farmers use MON 810 mainly for biogas production and for on-farm cattle feed, eliminating the need for commercial marketing of the product. Slovakia imports bioengineered soybean meal, a main protein source for feed mixes, according to the Global Agricultural information Network.
The neighbouring Hungary has banned MON 810 corn despite its approval by the EU for commercial use.
Hungary’s interests were fulfilled when a vote passed in the European Parliament allowed individual member states to ban the cultivation of GM crops, the farm ministry said yesterday. “It is an especially important strategic interest for Hungary laid down in its constitution also to ensure that its agriculture is GM-free,” it said.
Czech MEP Kate?ina Kone?ná of the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left EP group said GMOs pose a risk, not only to the environment and biodiversity, but mainly to human and animal health. “Most impact studies concerning GMOs were mainly financed by multinational corporations and lobbying groups. The harmful impact of GMOs on human health is not publicly discussed even though we know about it from independent studies," the Czech MEP said.
© 2015 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article written by László Juhász.