Farm Ireland

Friday 23 February 2018

Monsanto to cease GM crop trials

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Monsanto have announced that they are ceasing trials on new genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe for the foreseeable future.

The seed and chemical giant sells over €9bn of seed annually, with 50pc of the total accounted for by GM varieties.

"There is about 400m acres of GM crops being grown globally at this stage," said Monsanto's Irish director, Patrick O'Reilly.

"We're still experiencing double digit annual growth in our biotech (GM) seed sales, with most of that in maize and soya.

"We estimate that each generation of biotech varieties gives the farmer a 5-7pc boost in profitability. We're now on the third generation because we've moved on from the single gene change that gave crops Round-up resistance to stacked gene resistance to a range of issues such as drought and insects."

Dr O'Reilly said that Monsanto had taken a strategic decision to pull back from attempts to trial GM crops in Europe "until there was a climate of interest in the technology."

"It's the total opposite elsewhere, where biotech continues to get bigger and bigger," he said.

However, the Monsanto director said that the seed company would continue to press policy makers at European level for import approvals on GM feeds such as soya. He added that Monsanto would continue to carry out trials in Europe on conventionally bred crops.

Also Read

Anti-GM groups hailed the formal announcement by the company as a victory in their campaign to keep the technology out of the European food-chain.

Irish Independent