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2-Plants: Romania bans GM Soya after 8 years of massive cultivation

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TITLE:  Romania bans GM Soya after 8 years of massive cultivation
        First case of decontamination
SOURCE: Greenpeace Romania, Briefing
DATE:   Feb 2006

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Romania bans GM Soya after 8 years of massive cultivation
First case of decontamination

Romania, Europe's no.1 producer of genetically manipulated (GM) crops has
decided to ban Monsanto's GM Roundup Ready Soybeans (RRS). The ban was
decided by the Romanian government on 25 th January 2006 and announced in
early February by the Ministry of Agriculture and will be in place as of
1 January 2007.

It is the first time that a country with a long tradition in growing GMOs
puts an end to cultivation of GM crops and sends an optimistic message to
other similar countries.

Romania has been growing GM soya, GM maize and GM potatoes since 1998.
The surface under GM soya has continuously increased without any control
and without restrictive legislation. The latest report by ISAAA (a
research institute sponsored by the biotech industry) mentions Romania as
"biotech mega-country" growing more than 125.000 ha of GM soya in 2005.
The Romanian authorities confirmed 87.000 ha for 2005. To date Romania
has no means to restrain GMOs and to assure traceability and
consumerlabeling. There is no single certified laboratory for scientific
analysis, no single specialized inspector for GMOs and the legislation is
far away from being restrictive.

The issue of GMOs led to a fierce round of 3 public debates in November
of 2005 after environmental group Greenpeace highlighted illegal
experiments with GM potatoes and GM plum trees (which have now been put
on hold), and massive unrecorded cultivation with GM soya happening all
over Romania.

Following the debates in Romania, Brussels came back to Bucharest (the
Romanian capital and government seat) with a "red flag" in the Monitoring
Comprehensive Report of the EU Commission. Romania is a candidate for
accession to the European Union by January 2007. In the EU the
cultivation of GM soya beans is forbidden and therefore a clear position
of the Romanian government in the field of GMOs became a must overnight
in the perspective of the European integration.

US based genetech giant Monsanto -the biggest seller of GM soya seeds in
Romania- has again applied last December for cultivation of GM soya for
2006 and GM soya seed production for 2007. Somehow, they missed that the
Romanian legislation -poor as it is- asks for renewal of the
authorization 9 months before the old one expires. So Monsanto's
notification for renewal of the authorization for cultivation of GM Soya
in 2006 came eight months after the deadline expired. Greenpeace has a
legal opinion stating that this is too late in legal terms. However the
Ministry of Environment is ignoring this and is about to break the
Romanian GMO law by allowing cultivation of GM soya for 2006, as the
government ban is valid from 2007 onward.

After growing GM soya for many years without any control, a huge black
market for GM seeds has developed. Farmers keep the seeds for the next
year and also sell them to other farmers. There have also been
accusations of contamination with GM soya coming from neighboring
countries like Hungary.

Greenpeace welcomes the Romanian government's ban on GM soya, but
believes that the Romanian officials should not wait until 2007 before
implementing the announced measures.

Greenpeace is demanding that the Romanian Government and the EU stop the
cultivation of GM soya in Romania as of 2006 and take full responsibility
for a complete decontamination of the country, in order to ensure
Romania's accession in the EU as scheduled at 1st of January 2007.


Gabriel Paun, GE campaigner
Greenpeace Romania.
Cell: + 40-744 351 977

A detailed Greenpeace report about GMOs in Romania is available at:


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

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

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