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Socio-economic Analysis of Genetically Modified (GM) Crops and Ecologically Compatible Farming Helen Holder Friends of the Earth Europe Brussels, December.

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Presentation on theme: "Socio-economic Analysis of Genetically Modified (GM) Crops and Ecologically Compatible Farming Helen Holder Friends of the Earth Europe Brussels, December."— Presentation transcript:

1 Socio-economic Analysis of Genetically Modified (GM) Crops and Ecologically Compatible Farming Helen Holder Friends of the Earth Europe Brussels, December 2007

2 The EU’s Lisbon Agenda March 2000: « the EU is to become by 2010 « the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based region in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion » In 2002, biotechnology to « provide a major contribution to acheiving the European Community’s Lisbon Summit objective of becoming a leading knowledge-based economy » EU Biotech Strategy, 2002

3 “By keeping Europe at the cutting edge of biotechnology research, we will also contribute to the more general goals of creating more highly-qualified and well- paid jobs, boost economic growth and improve our terms-of-trade” European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry Gunter Verheugen, Vice President of the Commission, press release, 2005

4 Scoping study Data on competitiveness and job creation in the GM crop sector (not biotechnology as a whole) Data on competitiveness and job creation in ecologically-compatible farming: main example, organic farming Essentially in EU in order to assess against the Lisbon Agenda Goals, with comparison where neccessary No primary research: data from industry and government sources

5 Main findings on agribiotech / GM crops and foods Competitiveness: Agribiotech revenues in the EU are on the decline, venture capital investment is minimal, companies are relocating or shifting to more profitable areas such as therapeutics Both in the EU and in the US agribiotech companies received less than 1% of the venture capital for biotech

6 Main findings on agribiotech / GM crops and foods Market diversity is stifled: Acquisitions and mergers have led to just 6 corporations controlling the market – Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer CropScience, BASF and Dow Low product impact and performance: Only two GMO ‘traits’ have been commercialised to any significant scale, despite 70 distinct « traits » authorised in the US Increased tolerance to GM crop herbicides means higher levels of chemical applications Costs of contamination

7 25 years of research, only two traits on the market Job creation: Only jobs in biotechnology in the EU, 80% of these are in the health biotech sector. Lack of profitable market has caused industry to reorganise its workforce. Cuts have been made in order to meet overall profit targets. The result has been a loss of thousand of jobs in Europe over just a few years

8 “ Statistics on biotechnology employment cannot be obtained from official sources […] because standardised data collection is not available for this industry that stretches across several industrial sectors ” Commissioner Verheugen, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, response to written Parliamentary question, 2006

9 Main findings on ecologically compatible farming Report focusses on organic farming because most research done is in this area Data from academic, governmental, international institutions and NGOs

10 Main findings on ecologically compatible farming « Strong economic performance must go hand in hand with the sustainable use of natural resources and levels of waste, maintaining biodiversity, preserving ecosystems and avoiding desertification. To meet these challenges, the European Council agrees that the Common Agricultural Policy and its future development should, among its objectives, contribute to achieving healthy, high quality products, environmentally sustainable production methods, including organic production, renewable raw materials and the protection of biodiversity » « Economic growth, social cohesion and environmental protection must go hand in hand » European Council, Presidency Conclusions, Goteburg 2001

11 Main findings on ecologically compatible farming Competitiveness Organic farming shows increased profitability for farmers compared to conventional farming Demand for organic products is growing at double digit rates in many EU countries Demand in the EU outstrips supply Amount of organic farmland in Africa, Asia and Latin America is showing triple digit growth since 2000 Major food companies have launched or acquired organic brands

12 Main findings on ecologically compatible farming Market diversity and innovation Rapid increase in organic holdings in the EU is being accompanied by similar growth in organic processors and importers Organic farms, especially those where processing and retailing is managed on the farm, are showing quantifiable increased social cohesion of rural communities and stimulation of local economies

13 Main findings on ecologically compatible farming Products Research shows that organic production Has comparable yields to conventional farming Uses 30% less energy Uses less water Uses virtually no pesticides Organic farming creates more and younger jobs as well as job creation in the rural economy as a whole

14 FAO report: Organic Agriculture and Food Security, September 2007 Organic farming is no longer to be considered a niche market within developed countries Practiced in 120 countries, covering 31 million hectares (ha) of cultivated land plus 62 million ha of certified wild harvested areas The organic market was worth US$40 billion in 2006, and expected to reach US$70 billion by A broad scale shift to organic agriculture can produce enough food on a global per capita basis to feed the world’s population over the next 50 years. Organics include workable solutions to pressing problems such as the growth in population and consumption, oil peak, fossil fuel dependence, food transport, and agricultural sector employment

15 But didn’t the EU loose the WTO case ….? The final ruling, issued in September 2006: The EU’s regulatory and policy regime on GMOs was not put into question, nor was the right of countries to introduce strict regulatory frameworks at the national level. The moratorium in place at the time was found not to be illegal per se The WTO panel of experts did not question the right for EU member states to ban individual GMOs. The national bans under the complaint were only found to lack one specific element of risk assessment requirements under the WTO SPS (sanitary and phyto-sanitary) agreement The ruling was therefore nuanced, without clear winners or losers European Commission dynamics

16 “Zero tolerance” policy EU has “zero tolerance” to imports contaminated with GMOs not authorised in the EU Recent case: GM maize (“Herculex”) blocked in ports Reports from animal feed and livestock industries EU faces “crisis” of livestock industry EU is out of step with other regions (“asynchronous”) This is picked up in DG Agriculture report Pressure put on DG Health and DG Environment Debate organised at EU Agriculture Council Call for zero tolerance to be reviewed “Scaremongering” ignores impact of agrofuel production on both soy and maize for food and feed Climate Role of EU to influence other importing countries and producing countries to cater to non GM market US has no regulatory authorisation proceedure US using WTO case to pressure EU

17 Recommendations EU and national policies on biotechnology need to include an accurate analysis of economic performance and potential Biotechnology should be clearly divided up between different sectors in order to aid political decision-making EU and national research programmes need to prioritise ecologically-compatible farming models such as organic agriculture Binding commitments and increased funding for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Pillar 2 in EU Member States Quantifiable commitments to achieving the socio-economic and environmental goals of the Lisbon Agenda must be made in EU policies, including EU industry policy Maintain and defend zero tolerance policy

18 Thank you Further information:


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