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Monday, 03 June 2013 08:07

Protests Force Monsanto to Abandon GMO Expansion in Europe

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2179079554 5b061619edConfronted with ongoing protests and opposition from farmers, Monsanto is abandoning efforts to get approval for new GMO seeds in the European Union.  In addition to boosting the morale of GMO opponents, the Monsanto standdown was publicly admitted by the company.  Most often large corporations take a public relations stance that obfuscates defeats by using euphemistic public relations language or diversionary tactics.

According to CBS MarketWatch:

Monsanto doesn't plan to apply for the approval of new genetically modified seeds in Europe due to low demand from farmers and stiff opposition from the general public, the U.S. agricultural company's German spokeswoman said Sunday.

"As long as there's not enough demand from farmers for these products and the public at large doesn't accept the technology, it makes no sense to fight against windmills," Ursula Luettmer-Ouazane said Sunday, confirming a report in Berlin-based German daily TAZ newspaper.

Germany media outlet Deutsche Welle (DW) added that the German government has been vocal in its opposition to GMO seeds, as it details in an article, entitled "Monsanto gives up fight for GM plants in Europe":

The German Agriculture Ministry said Monsanto's move was a corporate decision and would not comment further. But it added it was no secret the ministry had been highly critical of gene modification technologies.

"The promises of GM industry have not come true for European agriculture, nor have they for the agriculture in developing and emerging economies," the ministry said in a statement.

In Germany, the protest movement against GM plants has been particularly strong for years. Vociferous rallying prompted the government in 2009 to prohibit the growing of Monsanto's MON810 GM maize variety.

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MarketWatch also noted that Monsanto was not alone in backing off the European market for now:

Monsanto's rivals, most notably Bayer AG's CropScience unit, Syngenta and BASF, have already largely pulled out with genetically modified crops from markets like Germany, as most consumers remain skeptical about the use of these organisms. BASF announced in January it has given up seeking approval for genetically modified potatoes in Europe, after concerted opposition from consumers, farmers and lawmakers.

In contrast, the US government, including the Obama administration, have been strong boosters of Monsanto GMO products domestically and overseas. 

However, the successful resistance against the corporate behemoth in Europe should give hope to those struggling against GMO lobbying clout in the United States.

(Photo: Library of Congress)