Farmers and green groups are coming together to launch a new campaign – ahead of the Environmental Council meeting held on 21 March in BrusselsÂ – calling on EU politicians to halt the authorisation of 22 GM crops currently being considered for cultivation in Europe.
The ‘Stop the Crop’ campaign highlights the devastating impacts already experienced in other countries as a result of the increased pesticide use in large-scale GM crop production.Â Campaigners – including Friends of the Earth Europe and Corporate Europe Observatory – are warning EU Member States that the expansion of GM cultivation and increased use of toxic pesticide 'Roundup' in Europe will endanger the environment and potentially human health – similar to those experienced in South America.
The EU currently imports soy from large-scale monoculture plantations in South America and the region has experienced several negative effects through farming the crop.Â Â In some cases, areas experienced both deforestation and displacement of local people and increased public health issues amongst rural communities living in close proximity to the farms. In a bid to challenge the use of the crop, citizens in the affected areas have taken local action and brought soy farmers and agribusiness companies to court.
In the coming months, the Environment Council is expected to decide on the approval of 25 new GM crops for cultivation in Europe – including Roundup-resistant and insecticide-producing varieties of GM maize, soybean and sugarbeet.Â The next step will be a vote amongst the same experts, the outcome of which will govern whether the European Commission decides to authorise their cultivation in Europe.
OTHER KEY INFORMATION
- GM crops can contaminate conventional and organic crops as the pollen and seeds are transported by wind and insects.
- GM crops are patented therefore allowing biotech companies to sue farmers for using patented property even if those crops got into the farmers’ fields through accidental contamination. By December 2012 Monsanto had sued 410 farmers and 56 farm companies for patent infringements in the USA.
- The European Commission presented several Roundup Ready crops to the countries for authorisation in EU. Roundup Ready soybeans (technical name 40-3-2 from Monsanto) and maize (technical names Mon88017 from Monsanto and GA21 from Syngenta) were discussed by national experts in January and September 2012.
- The ‘Stop the Crop’ campaign is supported by Friends of the Earth Europe, Corporate Europe Observatory, La Via Campesina, the European Environmental Bureau, Bioforum (Belgium), Oikos (Belgium), Climaxi (Belgium), GM Watch (UK), InfOGM (France), Save our Seeds (Germany), and Slow Food Germany.