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BUSINESS & SEEDS: Farm area for GM crops drops in Czech Republic



                                  PART 1


------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   FARM AREA FOR GM CROPS DROPS IN CZECH REPUBLIC

SOURCE:  Czech Position, Czech Republik

AUTHOR:  Raymond Johnston

URL:     http://www.ceskapozice.cz/en/news/society/farm-area-gm-crops-drops-czech-republic

DATE:    23.02.2011

SUMMARY: "In the Czech Republic, the number of hectares used for genetically modified corn (maize) dropped to 4,680 in 2010 from 6,480 in 2009, representing a 27.78 percent drop. [...] The Czech Ministry of Agriculture (MZe) in a press release attributed the drop in GM corn area to problematic sales. The ministry, however, was supportive of GM crops, especially Amflora potoatoes, promoting them as a way for farms to increase profits and stay in business."

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FARM AREA FOR GM CROPS DROPS IN CZECH REPUBLIC

The agricultural area used for genetically modified corn dropped almost 28 percent y/y in the Czech Republic due to ?problematic sales?

The area cultivated for genetically modified crops has fallen 23 percent in Europe over the past two years, by just slightly less than in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic saw the amount of land used to grow genetically modified (GM) crops drop in 2010, according to a Feb. 22 report by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). This ran counter to a global trend that saw increased land use.

Genetically modified crops are now grown in 29 countries worldwide, including eight countries in Europe, according to the ISAAA, a not-for-profit organization that promotes GM crops and is funded in part by biotech companies.

In the Czech Republic, the number of hectares used for genetically modified corn (maize) dropped to 4,680 in 2010 from 6,480 in 2009, representing a 27.78 percent drop. Four out of six European countries that produce GM corn saw the numbers of hectares drop, with Romania seeing the sharpest fall, some 74.64 percent. Spain ? the only country in Europe to exceed 50,000 hectares of land used for GM crops, making it one of 17 worldwide ?biotech mega-countries?? saw a 10.95 percent drop, and overall the agricultural area in Europe for GM corn dropped 13.08 percent. Poland?s GM area remained the same and Slovakia saw an increase.

In addition to corn, three European countries grew genetically modified potatoes on very limited areas. The Czech Republic had 150 hectares, Sweden 103 and Germany 15. The GM potato Amflora, which was approved for use in the EU on March 2, 2010, is intended to make potato starch for industrial use. The Czech Republic is the only country in Europe to grow both GM corn and GM potatoes.

The Czech Ministry of Agriculture (MZe) in a press release attributed the drop in GM corn area to problematic sales. The ministry, however, was supportive of GM crops, especially Amflora potoatoes, promoting them as a way for farms to increase profits and stay in business. Developing GM crops is also an area where Czechs could do research and development, according to the MZe. Reducing bureaucracy involved in planting GM crops was cited as a priority. ?Farmers and consumers are not falling for biotech industry propaganda.?

Opponents of GM crops, however, praised the decrease in GM farming area. ?European data shows that GM crops are failing in the field and on the market. Farmers and consumers are not falling for biotech industry propaganda,? Greenpeace EU agriculture policy adviser Stefanie Hundsdorfer said in a press release.

?GM crops are not more productive and are less resistant to extreme climate conditions than normal crops. They do however present a serious risk for our environment,? she said, pointing out that this was not the first drop in Europe. In 2009, the ISAAA had also reported a 12 percent EU-wide decline compared to 2008, for a total EU-wide decline of 23 percent over two years.

Opinion research released by the European Commission in 2010 showed that 61 percent of Europeans felt uneasy about GM food, while 59 percent disagreed with the statement that it was safe for their health. Some 61 percent also disagreed with encouraging the development of GM foods.

ISAAA: Potatoes a new opportunity in EU

The ISAAA report acknowledged that while further growth is expected worldwide in the remaining part of the decade, much of Europe remains a trouble spot. ?Western Europe is by far the more difficult region to predict because the issues are not related to science and technology considerations, but are of a political nature and influenced by ideological views of activist groups. The potato crop may offer new and appropriate opportunities for the EU,? the executive summary of the report said. ?This reflects the trust and confidence of millions of farmers worldwide, who have consistently benefited from ? biotech crops.?

Setting Europe aside, the ISAAA report was upbeat. ?The growth from 1.7 million hectares of biotech crops in 1996 to 148 million hectares in 2010 is an unprecedented 87-fold increase, making biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture,? the executive summary of the report said.

?Importantly, this reflects the trust and confidence of millions of farmers worldwide, who have consistently benefited from the significant and multiple benefits that biotech crops offered over the last 15 years,? it added. The 148 million hectares of biotech crops in 2010 now account for 10 percent of all 1.5 billion hectares of cropland in the world, according the ISAAA. ?Accumulated hectarage from 1996 to 2010 exceeded an unprecedented 1 billion hectares for the first time, signifying that biotech crops are here to stay,? the report stated.

Critics such as the UK-based group GM Freeze, however, pointed out that 70 percent of the increase in 2010 occured in just three countries that have a significant commitment to GM crops: the US, Brazil and Argentina. GM Freeze also disputed the ISAAA claim that 10 percent of cropland was used for GM crops, stating that 148 million hectares represents only 3 percent of the world?s agricultural land.

Farming area for genetically modified corn (hectares)

Country			2009	2010	Change (percent)

Spain			76,057	67,726	-10.95

Portugal		5,094	4,868.5	-4.42

Czech Republic		6,480	4,680	-27.78

Poland			3,000	3,000	0

Slovakia		875	1,248.7	42.7

Romania			3,244	822.6	-76.64

Corn (maize) overall	94,750	82,346	-13.08

Source: Greenpeace, based on ISAAA figures



                                  PART 2

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROP AREA IN CR DOWN A QUARTER IN 2010

SOURCE:  Prague Monitor, Czech Republic

AUTHOR:  Czech News Agency, Czech Republic

URL:     http://praguemonitor.com/2011/02/23/genetically-modified-crop-area-%C4%8Dr-down-quarter-2010

DATE:    23.02.2011

SUMMARY: "Czech farmers are evidently leaving genetically modified crops as the area for their growing sank by over a quarter (-27.78 percent) last year compared with 2009 - from 6,480 to 4,680 hectares, according to statistics of the ISAAA organisation made public yesterday. Last year?s fall in the area in the Czech Republic was one of the biggest ever. [...] Only farmers in Romania with a 75 percent decline registered a bigger fall than Czech farmers last year."

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GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROP AREA IN CR DOWN A QUARTER IN 2010

Brussels, Feb 22 (CTK) - Czech farmers are evidently leaving genetically modified crops as the area for their growing sank by over a quarter (-27.78 percent) last year compared with 2009 - from 6,480 to 4,680 hectares, according to statistics of the ISAAA organisation made public yesterday.

Last year?s fall in the area in the Czech Republic was one of the biggest ever. A fall was also seen in the whole of the EU, according to the data from ISAAA which monitors growing of genetically modified crops in the world.

The area for genetically modified crops in the EU decreased by 13 percent on average in 2010. Only farmers in Romania with a 75 percent decline registered a bigger fall than Czech farmers last year.

The Czech Republic last year ranked among the countries with the largest area with genetically modified potatoes Amflora, resistant to antibiotics, due to which environmental activists have often criticised them.

The potatoes are used for starch production. Amflora potatoes were grown on 150 hectares of land in the Czech Republic last year.

According to Czech Agriculture Ministry spokeswoman Tereza Dvorackova, the area with GM potatoes will decrease this year, while the area with GM maize should remain roughly the same as last year.

Environmentalists argue that growing of similar crops will not last long in Europe. According to Greenpeace data, 61 percent of people in the EU are against these crops.