Biotechnology and ideological restricitons
Opinion piece in La Vanguardia, Spain
Published on 28 October 2012, by Soledad Juan Arechedera, Antama Foundation
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) recently published the official data on the total area of GM maize in Spain - 116.3066 hectares. This represents a 20% increase over last year.
Biotech crops are a safe bet for farmers, opening the way to greater economic benefit and providing the final consumer with a better choice. In fact, the results are measurable. Thanks to biotech crops, improving productivity and reducing costs in the field, has resulted in more than 63.000 million euros of extra income for farmers that have grown worldwide since 1996.
But the EU GM crops authorization process is slower than the rest of the world. While in the U.S. it takes 25 months to approve biotech crops, in the EU it could take up to 45 months to approve import and consumption of GM seeds. And it is striking that the reluctance of the EU to the approval of genetically modified crops is not the same when talking about imports of GMOs.
We must stop and think - is the rejection of biotech crops really justified? The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) ensures the safety of GMOs; state agencies and authorities require extensive safety checks on GM crops and foods which are much more demanding than checks on any other crop or food. All of these bodies corroborate that restrictions are kept by ideological and unscientific reasons.