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Planting genetically modified crops remains slow in Europe

look like many U.S. citizens. In fact, many U.S. citizens can link their
ancestry to their European forefathers. When it comes to planting genetically
modified crops, though, a chasm exists between the United States and European

U.S. farmers and consumers don’t blink an eye when it comes to planting or
consuming products from genetically modified crops.

European Union (EU), though, has resisted planting genetically modified crops
since they first surfaced in the 1990s.

has been a slight crack in the EU’s genetically modified wall when it comes to
planting these crops. Spanish farmers can plant genetically modified corn. In
2010, the European Commission also allowed genetically modified potato
varieties developed by BASF to be grown in some EU countries.

see the relevance of genetically modified crops when they try them,” says Peter
Eckes, president of BASF Plant

most EU countries remain steadfast against planting genetically modified crops.
In France—the largest European agricultural country—no genetically crops were
grown in 2010, notes Eckes.

noted at BASF’s Global Agricultural
Solutions Press Info Day in Ludwigshafen, Germany, held earlier this month that resistance may
eventually soften as transgenic technologies evolve.

genetically modified crops featured tolerance to herbicides and resistance to
insects. “These technologies increased productivity and focused strongly on the
farmer and his needs,” says Eckes.

hasn’t registered with European consumers. Eckes notes consumers in wealthy
European countries have not perceived first-generation genetically modified
traits as a benefit. Still, new generation traits are in the works to boost the
health attributes of foods, such as the addition of vitamins, enzymes or
healthy fatty acids.

new generation will push the needle on (European) consumer acceptance,” he
predicts. “Consumers will be more ready to accept these kinds of products.”

Thierry de l’Escaille, this day cannot come too soon. The chief executive
officer of the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO) notes the demand for
agricultural products in Europe is increasing by 4% annually. However, lack of
transgenic technology acceptance contributes to European agricultural
productivity rising by 1% annually at best.

are being steered by the (European) media, that is targeting farmers and
industry,” says de l’Escaille, whose group’s membership includes European farmers
and farmland owners.  “Most (European)
farmers want to plant GMOs (genetically modified organisms).”

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