NEWS

Most disagree with Simitis

I don’t know what it is that could make a prime minister change his mind from one moment to the next about such an important issue as GM organisms. I don’t know what the prime minister has in mind when he talks about «the spectacular achievements in biotechnology and the production of genetically modified organisms in farming, farm products and food.» I have no idea, nor has the entire farming community around the world, how the prime minister plans to promote quality products at the same time as GM «achievements of biotechnology.» What I do know very well is that: – The issue of GM organisms refers to the control of world’s agricultural production by three multinational companies. – More than 35 countries are promoting or have already enacted legislation restricting GM organisms. – In the US, there has been an increase in the use of chemical weed-killers due to the cultivation of GM crops. – The US is blackmailing developing countries to accept GM crops, threatening to cut off food and medical aid. – The US, Argentina and Canada own 95 percent of GM crop cultivation worldwide. At the same time, 90 percent of GM seeds sold belong to one single company, Monsanto. – The International Protocol on Biosafety, which is now a legally binding international agreement, recognizes that GM products entail risks to health and the environment. These facts could be considered spectacular, but certainly not achievements. I also know that the only ones who benefit from promoting GM organisms are the companies that make them. In changing his mind, the prime minister is running counter to 93.3 percent of the Greek public who do not want to use GM products (survey by Eurobarometer on «Europeans, Science and Technology,» December 2001), to all environmental and consumer organizations and farmers’ associations. It is just as certain that his statement has met with the approval of the US government and the multinationals producing GM organisms. However, this is not a good enough basis for agricultural and environmental policy. (1) Nikos Haralambidis is the director of the Greek branch of Greenpeace.