NEWS

The country’s best interests

I read the terms of the [government’s] Convergence Charter regarding biotechnology, and particularly agro-biotechnology very carefully. I honestly expected something more specific but, as much as I tried, all I could find were generalities. Greece has the potential to produce agricultural goods that could remain, at least for the time being, far from the sights of agro-biotechnology that have set their sights on so much – particularly our olive trees. I say that because in a place such as Greece, over time, it might be in our best interests to keep it a region free of GM plants for the simple reason that for purely economic reasons, conventional and organic products could be in high demand (and for high prices) in foreign markets – and this is apart from any purely environmental concern. At a time when the mass cultivation of GM crops is leading to the homogenization of production, it might be in Greece’s interest to look into the possibility of the modern science of biotechnology helping – and it can – the development and protection of already existing crops and varieties, and not to resort to the adoption of GM crops which will flood most markets. Perhaps it is time for a discussion of what is truly in our country’s interest. For the interests of the agro-biotechnology companies are not always the same as those of a particular country. (1) Dimitris Kouretas is an associate professor in Thessaly University’s department of biochemistry-biotechnology.