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BASF retreats from Europe as GM crops rejected

Jan 17

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17/01/2012 16:31  RssIcon

Lack of acceptance from consumers cited

Yesterday bio-tech company BASF announced it's abandoning plans to develop and commercialise genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe and will concentrate its plant biotechnology activities on the main markets in North and South America.

BASF Plant Science will halt the development and commercialization of all products that are targeted solely for cultivation in the European markets. This includes genetically modified starch potatoes.

"We are convinced that plant biotechnology is a key technology for the 21st century. However, there is still a lack of acceptance for this technology in many parts of Europe – from the majority of consumers, farmers and politicians. Therefore, it does not make business sense to continue investing in products exclusively for cultivation in this market,” said Dr. Stefan Marcinowski, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF, responsible for plant biotechnology. “We will therefore concentrate on the attractive markets for plant biotechnology in North and South America and the growth markets in Asia.”

 

Costumed Greenpeace activists blockading a GMO storage facility owned by BASF in Sweden last year.

 

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said: “BASF admits that Europeans don’t want GM crops, and for good reason. It’s not just the worrying health concerns, GM crops go hand in glove with factory farming, pesticide use, pest resistance and disappointing long-term yields.

“Europeans are not alone in rejecting GM food. BASF’s retreat to the Americas follows a string of defeats for the industry over the last two years in China, India, the Philippines, Thailand and elsewhere. Over 90% of GM food crops are grown in just four countries in the Americas.”

In 2011, India rejected the authorisation of a GM aubergine, the only GM food for which an authorisation was sought, while in September 2011 China suspended the commercialisation of GM rice. The Philippines and Thailand have also rejected GM rice.

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