Friday, January 4, 2013

Poland becomes eighth EU country to ban Monsanto maize

Set You Free News

Warsaw – As a result of bans on cultivation of genetically modified crops, that were introduced by the government today, from January 28 2013, planting GMO crops will not be allowed. Many environmental organizations as well as farmers and scientists can see it as a success, pointing out that it is not yet the final step to eliminate GMOs from the environment and from our food.

The Council of Ministers has adopted today, prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, regulations which prohibit cultivation on the Polish territories two genetically modified crops – MON 810 maize from Monsanto and BASF Amflora potato. [1]. Thus, the government has complied with the publicly made assurances that despite lifting the ban on the marketing of genetically modified seeds in the amended Seed Act, the cultivation of these plants will not be admitted to our field. In this way, Poland joined the EUs eight countries, including agricultural powers such as France and Germany, which have banned the cultivation of GMOs in their territory. [2].

“The introduction of these regulations is our great success and gives us enormous satisfaction. For eight years, along with scientists and farmers, we encouraged successive Polish governments to take this step, providing evidence of the dangers of this technology. We are pleased that the government has kept their word and joined the group of progressive countries where GM crops are banned. However, this is not the end of our campaign. Now we need to make sure that the European Commission does not manage to lift the Polish bans like it ineffectively attempted to do earlier, when other countries introduced similar bans. We have to also make sure crops will be effectively controlled, and the ban on cultivation observed”, says Joanna Miś, campaign coordinator STOP GMO, Greenpeace Poland.

Seed Act was changed in November of this year, nullifying, [in existence] since 2005, the ban on sales of the genetically modified seeds. That prohibition was incompatible with EU law and with its continuance Poland was facing heavy fines. In addition, it was a bogus law, because Polish farmers could buy MON 810 corn in the Czech Republic and, completely uncontrolled, propagate it in our country. In this way, in Poland, by various data, currently about 3000 hectares are sown with this type of seed.

To justify the enactment of these regulations, the Ministry of Agriculture pointed out to the impossibility of the coexistence of GM crops and the natural varieties, without the risk of contamination of the latter. The Ministry also draws attention to the threat of contamination of honey by pollen of maize MON 810 and the lack of research supporting the safety of GM crops on the environment and human health. From now on, a farmer who illegally sows MON 810 maize or Amflora potato may be levied with severe financial penalties and even with the destruction of his crop.

“Introduction of effective bans on cultivation of GMOs is a milestone on the road to agriculture that is safe for the environment and people. Great thanks go to all, who have supported us for all these years and believed, that Poland without GMO is possible. I promise that we will continue taking actions against attempts to make Polish soil and environment a laboratory of agrochemical corporations”, says Maciej Muskat, director of Greenpeace Poland.

[1] These are the only GM crop currently approved for cultivation in the European Union. The problem is mainly maize MON 810, as it is the most commonly grown GM crop in the EU (used in feed). Amflora potatoes intended for industrial purposes, never grown in Europe on a massive scale, in addition, BASF has decided to withdraw it from the EU market, due to the large social resistance.
[2] These countries are Germany, Austria, Hungary, Luxembourg, France, Greece, Italy, and Bulgaria