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On Wednesday, July 17th, the Chief Executive Officer of Monsanto Jose Manuel Madero announced the company would cease marketing new genetically modified seeds (GM) in the European Union. In May the world’s largest seed company Monsanto dropped all its seven pending applications for GM cultivation in Europe except for one of its pending applications (MON810 insect-resistant maize). To learn more about this, Real World Radio interviewed the European Policy Director in Genetic Engineering and Sustainable Agriculture for Greenpeace Marco Contiero.
«It’s a great day for science in general», said Contiero.
He added that it was an opportunity not only for the Civil Society and NGO’s, but also for policy makers at all levels (European and national) to focus on other alternatives for European agriculture, such as practices based on agroecology, which the European Union «needs to boost».
Of course, the growing public resistance played an important role in this withdrawal. In fact, the latest EU polls show that 70 percent of European citizens find GE and GM crops unnatural and 61 percent are directly opposed to them. There is also strong resistance from farmers.
Contiero also evoked the current «heated» negotiations between the EU and the United States for a free trade agreement as a possible opportunity for Monsanto to increase its presence in the European market. The company’s recent retreat could effectively make European people (politicians, NGO or citizens) less ready to react.
Regarding Africa and Asia, the US would like to see those continents accept GM crops and gain more markets, and for that they need to silence critics from Europe.
«We are risking to lose all what we have achieved in twenty years of democratic debates and science-based decisions».
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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