Sunday, March 08, 2009

I'm reading this as good news...

While other anecdotal data suggest European resistance to GMO's is declining, at least in Germany the outlook is still adamant opposition.

The vast majority of politicians remained unconvinced. They saw no reason to support a company that uses a highly controversial technology to create a product rejected by the majority of Germans.
Lobbying work, which can be successful and reliable in markets like the United States, did not produce the desired results in Germany. Many organizations in both Berlin and the states were engaged to help generate a greater acceptance for green genetic engineering: Organizations like InnoPlanta in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, the German Crop Protection and Fertilizer Industries Association in Frankfurt am Main and Europabio in Brussels. Their members have attempted to find a sympathetic ear for the cause among members of parliament.
In January 2007, representatives of the major political parties gathered at the state parliament in the eastern state of Brandenburg to hear a group of US experts explain the benefits of green genetic engineering to them. The main speaker was American genetic corn farmer Don Thompson, while his wife, Jill Long Thompson, a former Under Secretary of Agriculture, was available to address possible "legislative issues." But lobbyists for green genetic engineering cannot claim any real successes. "We expressed our views on the issue when the Genetic Engineering Law was written," says L├╝ttmer-Ouazane, "but we cannot be satisfied with the outcome."
(Eds:On Jan. 25, 2008 the German parliament, the Bundestag, voted in favor of an amendment to the Genetic Engineering Law. In the future, fields of GM and conventional corn would have to be separated by a distance of at least 150 meters. In the case of organic corn that minimum distance doubles to 300 meters. The law's liability provisions continued to stipulate that farmers who plant GM crops are liable for loss of income suffered by neighboring conventional farmers as a result of the GM presence.) 

Although Germany represents a significant market for biotech corn, it is the political position at the heart of the EU and the largest European economy that gives it outsized influence.

The takeaway for me is my non-GMO premiums may have a slightly longer lifespan than I imagined.  It also suggest EU producers will fall farther behind in both productivity and experience exploiting biotech tools.

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