Lithuania Bans GM Crops as Biotech Industry Loses More Ground
Posted on Sep 21 2015
Lithuanian Agriculture Minister, Virginija Baltraitiene, announced last
week that the Baltic country has demanded an EU opt-out regarding the
growing of genetically modified (GM) crops.
Baltraitiene stated; “So far we are not ready. We have to choose whether
to promote organic production, or allow GMOs. Our strategy is to increase
the number of clean, high-quality products.”
Commercial GM crop cultivation has never been allowed in Lithuania, and
the majority of previous Biotech company requests for trials for GM maize,
GM oilseed rape and GM potatoes in the country were not given permits by
the Environment Ministry, however the official opt-out has strengthened
Lithuania’s position on this issue even further.
The Director of the Agricultural Production and Food Department at
Lithuania’s Ministry of Agriculture, Rimantas Krasuckis, simply stated
that GM crops are “not proven”.
On Monday, Northern Ireland also joined the massive wave of EU countries
that have decided to ban the cultivation of GM crops under new EU
regulations that were passed earlier in 2015.
Northern Ireland and Lithuania have followed France, who announced their
decision last week, and also Greece and Latvia in asking for an opt-out
from growing GM crops. Germany and Scotland have also made it clear that
they will follow the same path.
German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt informed German states in
August of his intention to use a new EU law, passed in March, to ban the
use of GM crops. This followed the Scottish Government’s announcement
earlier in the same month that they will take similar action to protect
Scotland’s clean, green status.
The German announcement also came as Professor Carlo Leifert, Professor of
Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle University, said that he strongly
believes the Scottish Government ban on GM crops is right and that “there
are likely to be significant commercial benefits from Scotland being
clearly recognized as a GM-free region”.
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