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Page last update: 25/12/2008

Agriculture, Sustainability: Commission to release guidelines on crop ‘co-existence’

The European Commission will release in July its long-awaited strategy recommendations for managing the ‘co-existence’ of genetically modified (GM), conventional and organic crops.

The Commission pledged at a recent meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council that it will present to Member States a proposal in July on how to manage the presence of parallel farming systems without cross contamination, known as ‘co-existence’.
“The Commission will bring forward guidelines for the development of national and regional strategies to address co-existence before summer,” Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler told EU agriculture ministers and delegates at the Council meeting.
EU farm ministers attending the meeting expressed varying views regarding crop co-existence. Some Member States – such as Spain and the UK who have also called for a lifting of the EU moratorium on new GM crops – argue that legislation should be hammered out at the national level. Other Union members, such as Austria and Belgium, are pushing for EU-wide rules.

Adapting to local conditions
Commissioner Fischler argued that crop co-existence was best handled at the local level. “Any approach to co-existence has to take account of the vast diversity in farm structures, dominant crop types, climatic conditions and other regional and local production factors,” he noted.
“The best solution would be for Member States to take the initiative and develop and implement measures for co-existence according to their national or regional needs and circumstances,” he added.
The Commissioner’s view coincided with that of an expert roundtable held in April. It brought together stakeholders from industry, civil society, consumer groups, as well as policy-makers to discuss measures to facilitate the sustainable co-existence of GM and non-GM crops.
The freedom of farmers and consumers to choose the type of food they plant and eat was another important theme of the roundtable debate.

Source: EU sources
More Information:
Commission press release
News on the roundtable
First European conference on crop co-existence

Last update: 25 December 2008 | Top