GENET archive


2-Plants: Wide-spread planting of GE crops in Germany unlikely in 2006

                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Seehofer and industry divided over liability clauses
SOURCE: Berliner Zeitung, Germany, by Jörg Michel
        translated by GENET
DATE:   18 Jan 2006

------------------ archive: ------------------

Seehofer and industry divided over liability clauses

BERLIN. In contrast to the original plans, the wide-spread planting of
GE plants in Germany is unlikely to happen this spring. According to
information received at the Berliner Zeitung the Minister for
Agriculture Horst Seehofer (CSU) and the industry could not agree in
time on the necessary deregulation of the Genetechnology Act. So one of
the most ambitious plans of the black-red federal governnment [grand
coalition between the Christian-Democratic Union and Social-Democratic
Party] to promote new technologies failed for the moment.

Actually the Union and the SPD intended to simplify the planting of GE
plants as soon as possible. For that reason a revision of the
Genetechnology Act was foreseen. Seehofer's ministry told on Tuesday
that there are "still open questions". It has been decided to start with
a slim version of the revision. All critical questions have been
eliminated from the draft that should be adopted by the cabinet today,
it only implemets some EU provisions. The planned debate in the
Parliament has been postponed as well on short notice.

The reasons for these problems are the provisions on liability in the
act. Seehofer planned to build up  a liability fund. It seems that this
fund cannot be realized until for example maize is going to be sown in
May. Government and industry still struggle about the source from which
the money should come. Until now Seehofer refuses to use tax payers'
money for the fund.

"We are very disappointed that government and industry could not agree
on a mutual solution," said Regina Fischer of the Industrieverband Agrar
(Association of Agro-Industry). She hopes that the revision could be
managed until the next year. "The coalition has promised to make things
easier and we expect that this happens," said Fischer. As long as the
liability issues are not clarified, there will be no larger plantings of
GE plants in Germany. The government stressed that it sticks to the
planned revision. A spokesperson of Seehofer announced immediate negotiations.

                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GM crops in Germany stalled
SOURCE: By Mark Hucko, Checkbiotech, Switzerland
DATE:   20 Jan 2006

------------------ archive: ------------------

GM crops in Germany stalled

Since German companies and seed producers continue to reject demands of
German regulators to pay mandatory contributions to a state-regulated
compensation fund, observers don't expect any large-scale planting of
genetically modified (GM) crops in Germany before 2007.

Until now, German farmers have avoided large-scale plantings of
commercial GM crops such as corn or rapeseed, because German regulators
want to require mandatory contributions to a compensation fund that
would be entitled to farmers whose crops crossed with genetically
engineered crops.

Due to laws passed by the previous German Red-Green Coalition, farmers
growing biotech crops would be liable if neighbouring non-GM fields were
to become contaminated by GM crops - regardless of who caused the

The theory behind the law was the presumption that crops contaminated by
transgenic crops would have a lower market value and thus the affected
growers of non-GM crops would suffer a financial loss - an argument that
the biotech industry and some farmers reject.

Germany's new "Grand-Coalition" government, led by Chancellor Angela
Merkel, had assured to protect farmers from excessive contributions to a
compensation fund. However until now, Merkel's government was unable to
agree with industry and farmer organizations on ways to finance this
compensation fund.

During her campaign trail, Merkel had promised to provide German farmers
with the option of using enhanced crops. However, observers do not
expect a solution to the problem before the summer of 2006, and thus the
first large-scale GM crop plantings are not expected to take place
before the spring of 2007.

Furthermore, it is possible, that a possible agreement between the
government and farmers will be blocked by biotech seed producers, who
reject any type of government-regulated liability fund.

Dr. Ricardo Gent, CEO of the German Association of German Biotechnology
Companies (DIB) told the press, "We will reject any liability fund that
is regulated by law."

Seed producers would prefer to make their own private insurance
arrangements without the mandatory contributions to a state-regulated
fund as requested by the government.


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
In den Steinäckern 13
D - 38116 Braunschweig

P: +49-531-5168746
F: +49-531-5168747
M: +49-162-1054755
E: coordination(*)
W: <>

   GENET-news mailing list