Monsanto pulls out of the European market this week, citing lack of market interest.
In Europe Monsanto only sells GM corn in three countries. GM corn represents less than 1% of the EU’s corn cultivation by land area. Field trials are only in progress in three countries. We will not spend any more money to convince people to plant them,” states Brandon Mitchener, Public Affairs Lead for Monsanto in Europe and Middle East, in an interview with Investigative Reporting Denmark.
We’re going to sell the GM seeds only where they enjoy broad farmer support, broad political support and a functioning regulatory system,” Monsanto corporate spokesman Thomas Helscher told Reuters. “As far as we’re convinced this only applies to a few countries in Europe today, primarily Spain and Portugal.
This echos the general feeling about why we have GMOs here in Canada and the US in the first place – that if farmers weren’t buying and planting them, Monsanto wouldn’t be pushing their seeds on us either. So, the task at hand seems to be educating our farmers on the true cost/benefit of GMOs.
Any farmers reading this? We’d love to get your comments below on the issue.
This victory is somewhat dampened by the recent GMO labelling bill being voted down for the second time in the US senate. However it gives us hope, if the farmers in Europe can catch on, then chances are we in North America are on the same path to change for the better.
The main argument we have heard for the use of GMOs is that they are the solution to world hunger. GM crops are usually bred to resist pathogens, viruses and other pests, to resist harsh environmental conditions like drought and mold, to be more nutritious and to produce higher yields. In 1970 Norman Borlaug, the ‘man who saved a billion lives’ was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for his GM crop invention of dwarf wheat. This wheat now grows on all corners of the globe – in fact the wheat that grew before that, which was cultivated as far back as 9600 BCE and created by mother nature, may not exist anymore at all. The result is two-fold: yes it solved the immediate hunger problem, yes it improved the food security of third world countries by improving their export capabilities with much higher crop yields – but, in the long run what do we have? We have a population explosion – 7 billion people and counting, due to all of this abundance in food production – and we have nations of people sick with Coeliac disease and wheat/gluten intolerance and allergies. Not to mention the world-wide epidemic of obesity, the numbers of which now rival those of chronically hungry people on the planet. Check out a great article here on our site about these issues.
Similar problems exist in India today with the almost complete eradication of traditional cotton crops, replaced by Monsato GM varieties, leaving farmers completely dependant on Monsanto for their livelihood.
A persistent lack of vision from our leaders permeates our most dire concerns on this planet. After all, we humans are but a blink in time, living only 80 or so years – it is hard for us to see beyond our own lifetimes. But, in order to create a world that is safe and whole for our kids and grandkids we must somehow learn to think in a broader scope and to create policies and practices that reflect concern and caring for the seventh generation.
Sources and more on this:
Anup Shah, Obesity, Global Issues, Updated: November 21, 2010