cultivation

[img_assist|nid=248|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]The EFSA regularly states that volunteers from maize plants would not be a problem because the seeds wouldn't survive the winter etc. However even Monsanto found GM maize volunteers on their own test fields in Borken, in the North of Germany in 2007.
Cycling through the South of Hungary in September 2008, I found these single maize plants in the middle of a potato field.

[img_assist|nid=236|title=Maize volunteers|desc=|link=popup|align=right|width=200|height=117]

[img_assist|nid=225|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]On Wednesday, 7 May 2008, the EU Commission refered three GM crops back to the EFSA: the GM starch potato Amflora and the two Bt maize events Bt11 and 1507. Environmental Commissioner Dimas had already announced earlier that he would propose to reject the two Bt maize.

[img_assist|nid=107|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=99|height=43]In Duitsland heeft de overheid de verkoop van Monsanto's gentechmaïs MON810 gestopt, tot Monsanto een nieuwe plan voor de monitoring van effecten op het milieu voorlegt. Reden voor deze eis zijn nieuwe wetenschappelijke inzichten, dat MON810 grotere negatieve effecten op het milieu heeft dan tot nu toe verwacht.
Omdat de nieuwe regeling pas kort na het zaaien van het maïszaad bekend gemaakt werd, zal de teelt van MON810-maïs er dit jaar niet meer door getroffen zijn. Desondanks is deze beslissing van groot belang voor de verdere beoordeling van MON810 in de EU.

De gentech-maïs MON810 van Monsanto was al in 1998 voor commerciële landbouw in de EU toegelaten, maar wordt sinds 2003 in Spanje, en pas 2006 ook in sommige andere landen geteeld; vooral in Duitsland, waar het toelaten van MON810-soorten einde 2005 een van de eerste taken van de nieuwe regering was.

Volgens de Duitse Dienst voor Consumentenbescherming en Levensmiddelveiligheid laat nieuw wetenschappelijk onderzoek zien, in welke mate het Bt-gif van MON810 in de voedselketen van dieren terecht komt, en dat het nu bewezen is, dat ook andere dieren (zogenaamde niet-doelorganismen) zoals roof-insecten op hogere niveaus van de voedselketen aan het gif blootgesteld zijn.

Op dit moment vraagt Monsanto aan boeren, enquêtes in te vullen over algemene informatie over hun MON810 teelt en andere landbouw-parameters, maar volgens de dienst zijn deze enquêtes niet voldoende om de nodige en statisch verwerkbare informatie over effecten op het milieu en vooral over niet-doelorganismen te verzamelen.

De overheid vraagt daarom aan Monsanto een monitoring plan te ontwikkelen dat met de volgende punten rekening houdt:
a) verspreiding van kiembare maïs-korrels in het milieu,
b) verspreiding van het Bt-gif in het milieu,
c) verblijf van het Bt-gif in de bodem en effecten op bodemdieren,

[img_assist|nid=107|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]Who thought that it would be the easiest to ban GM maize, where it's not grown anyway, now luckily can admit that they were wrong: Romenia - the biggest maize producer in the EU - just decided to ban the cultivation of MON810. Reasons are not primarily the financial an ecological costs of Monsanto's crop, but the understanding that more money could be earned by growing organic maize.

[img_assist|nid=245|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]On 6 March, BASF announced that there would be no commercial cultivation of the GM potatoe Amflora - while a few weeks ago the company with acting as if getting the required aproval for planting was immanent.

On 6 March, BASF announced that there would be no commercial cultivation of the GM potatoe Amflora - while a few weeks ago the company with acting as if getting the required aproval for planting was immanent. In the middle of February, the agricultural ministers who had already in 2007 failed to find a qualified majority voted again but did not find a sufficient majority in favour or against an approval, so that it is now up to the EU Commission to take their own decission.

On Monday in the meeting of agricultural ministers, Germany voted against a cultivation approval for the GM starch potato Amflora.
Rumour now has it that Germany is also willing to enforce the safeguard clause 23 against its cultivation in Germany if the EU Commission now gives its approval.

[img_assist|nid=108|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]On Monday in the meeting of agricultural ministers, Germany voted against a cultivation approval for the GM starch potato Amflora.
Rumour now has it that Germany is also willing to enforce the safeguard clause 23 against its cultivation in Germany if the EU Commission now gives its approval.

[img_assist|nid=107|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=150|height=65]After years of arguments the German government finally decided on changes on a number of regulations for GM crops. What's hailed as an improvement in fact makes matters worse and some of the pressing issues have still not been tackled. What made it to the main TV news was that GM maize now should be planted 150 m away from conventional maize, or 300 m from organic maize. Or less if the GM farmer makes an agreement with his neighbours. It doesn't take much imagination to picture the pressure that can mount in a village if one farmer wants to grow GM maize... But it also means that their neighbours will have to label any kind of GM contamination, even below 0.9% because agreeing to a lesser safety distance clearly could technically been avoided. >>>

And then there is a longer distance for organic farmers. Why would that be needed if 150 m are considered far enough to avoid contamination. The answer is simply that in fact it is not considered enough to avoid any contamination, but those wanting to grow GM crops simply bank on the labelling regulation that allows contamination below 0.9% to stay unlabelled, claiming that there would be no damage to non-GM farmers if contamination would be lower then that. But in fact processors and other customers are likely to only purchase GM maize with lower contamination, just to stay on the safe side.

Other changes are equally bad: Specific groups of plants might be taken out of the regulation, even if the the so-called "closed system" in which they are grown would be open fields. Field trials would thereby by less regulated then crops approved for cultivation, food and feed by the EU.

[img_assist|nid=225|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]The good news is that yesterday, the EU Agricultural Minister meeting failed to give approval for the cultivation of BASF's GM starch potato Amflora. 10 years along the line of the de-facto moratorium against GM crops and still there is no new approval given for cultivation. The bad news is that once again, there was no qualified majority to reject it and the decision now lies with the EU Commission who is likely to approve of it.

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