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2-Plants: Italy farmers resist order to wreck gene crop

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TITLE:  Italy Farmers Resist Order to Wreck Gene Crop
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   Jul 15, 2003

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Italy Farmers Resist Order to Wreck Gene Crop

ROME - Farmers are resisting an order by Piedmont region in north Italy
to destroy almost 400 hectares of maize fields thought to contain genetic
material, and may take the matter to court, farm officials said
yesterday. An official with Coldiretti, Italy's biggest farmers'
association and an opponent of commercial biotech sowings, told Reuters
that just 10 hectares of maize near Cuneo had been destroyed by yesterday
morning. Piedmont on Friday ordered the destruction within five days of
381 hectares of maize found to contain genetically modified organisms
(GMOs) after a recent routine inspection. "Anyone who does not obey the
order will be breaking the law," Coldiretti's environment specialist,
Stefano Masini, said. Under Italian law, the sowing of genetically
modified crops in open fields is banned. Officials with Confagricoltura,
another farmers' group, questioned whether farmers who destroyed their
crops would receive compensation. Some Confagricoltura farmers were
considering going to court to challenge the Piedmont order because the
amount of genetic material had not been established, farm sources said.
The Piedmont authorities did not say how the contamination of the maize arose.


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