Azara Blog: Some small amount of GM maize is being grown in the EU

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Date published: 2007/10/29

The BBC says:

Figures published on Monday show the area planted with genetically modified crops in Europe has grown by 77% since last year.

This year more than 1,000 sq km (386 sq miles) of GM maize was harvested.

The biotech industry says this proves its products are appealing to farmers and are safe for the environment.

The only genetically modified crop grown widely in Europe is maize resistant to the corn borer - a moth larva which eats the stem.

The maize is cultivated for animal feed - not for human consumption.

Planted in Spain for the last 10 years, the maize is now proving popular in France where the acreage has tripled in a year and also in Germany and the Czech Republic.

Neither the pest nor the GM maize is found in Britain.

One thousand sq km (386 sq miles) is still a small fraction of the total farmed area of Europe and also tiny compared with the one million sq km (0.38 million sq miles) under GM around the world - an expanse four times the size of Britain.

Some environmental groups claim beneficial insects could also be harmed by the crop; and in France, President Nicolas Sarkozy has suspended all GM plantings until next year.

Clare Oxborrow is a Friends of the Earth food campaigner. She told the BBC that the increase in the area planted with GM crops should not be viewed as beneficial.

"The reality is, these crops have failed to deliver benefits, and more and more evidence is, in fact, coming to light showing that there are increased concerns about their environmental risks," she said. "GM crops, GM industry is not competitive, it is not creating jobs, it is not creating any new environmental benefits, it's not accepted by consumers, and I think we need to take a long, hard look. These figures today are more about the industry trying to reassure its investors than any significant success."

This amount of crop is indeed small beer. But the main reason it is small beer is that the EU ruling elite have refused to allow most GM crops to be planted. And the so-called environmentalists, like FoE, have run a successful scare campaign against GM crops. The EU will be left behind, but that is what the ruling elite want. Societies that are incapable of using new technologies are societies that fail. Of course it will not be the ruling elite, like Clare Oxborrow, who suffer the consequence.

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