Saturday, October 14, 2006

Pew Workshop Report on Co-Existence

The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology (Pew) has published a report on co-existence in agriculture.

The Report, "Peaceful Coexistence Aong Growers Of: Genetically Engineered, Conventional and Organic Crops," is the output of a Workshop held in March this year. The workshop was the second of three sponsored by Pew together with NASDA (National Association of State Departments of Agriculture).

Coexistence remains a critical issue in Europe, with consumers continuing to be concerned about the introduction of GM crops in Europe. Despite the recent WTO Panel Decision, countries in Europe continue to impose a ban on GM crops, including Italy, where the organic market remains one of the strongest in Europe.

Meanwhile, the controversy over the GM rice contamination of US exports (with bans in the European Union, Japan, and Russia, among others) has raised major concerns about not only the potential environmental risks but also the tangible damage to the commercial assets of organic and traditional farmers, leading to large compensation payments from governments.

In a recent BBC viewpoint, Sue Mayer has described GM crops as looking like "more of a liability than an asset." And in Australia, the Western Australian Agriculture Minister, Kim Chance, has criticised strongly the Australian Federal Government's premature call for all states to lift their moratorium on GM crops. The call, from the Hon Peter McGauran, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), responds to the DAFF report, Creating Our Future: Agriculture and Food Policy for the Next Generation (Corish Report).

While governments and trade disputes remained entrenched in a debate over scientific evidence, the distraction from the real problem of product credibility and consumer confidence is potentially marginalised.

No comments: