Monsanto Retreats from Europe?!

0 thoughts on “Monsanto Retreats from Europe?!”

  1. It’s good news but I don’t know what to expect. It coincides with Asian fallout from a publicised transgene escape in the US (unauthorised Roundup Ready wheat in an Ohio field, after which the US lost two of its big export markets for wheat – Japan and South Korea) and with GM-themed confrontation between Presidents Obama and Putin. Monsanto is large and powerful. I don’t expect it to roll over quietly.

    1. Yeah they have been in the news a lot lately, haven’t they? I’m interested to see how the wheat trade issue will play out – potential blog post topic in the near future 😉 Thanks for reminding me of it!

  2. This is great for Europe and I’m hopeful that Canada will follow suit (although I don’t see it happening in the near future.) I wonder too if the reason that Monsanto is withdrawing lobbying efforts is that there is a much bigger, untapped market in Africa that seems to be getting so much foreign direct investment in recent years. I’m wondering what you think about the push for biotech on the continent via the Gates Foundation etc? I’m not as well read in the literature on this, but this article concerns me and if you have posted something in the past about biotech in the developing world, would you mind directing me? If not I would love to have your thoughts as a fellow food security nerd. : ) argylesock, you write about these things too, non?

  3. I think that Monsanto and others are opting for the path of least resistance and looking to markets that are more pliant. Maybe they think “we’ll see about Europe later when we’ve got the rest of the world in our pocket. ” Meanwhile the technology of genetic engineering seems to hold a fascination to those of a certain mindset. See for example Dutch agriculture minister Sharon Dijkstra, who seems to think it would be a good idea to cross chicken genes with those of jellyfish so that eggs containing male chickens will glow in the dark and can be easily weeded out. You couldn’t make this stuff up! Certainly we need to stay alert and do what we can to stop this nonsense.

    1. I was recently reading a dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood in which glow-in-the-dark piglets were developed and it was sad to think that we are already there… In that book, the fascination with genetic engineering was explained by the power to “play God”. I wonder how much that is true nowadays as well…

  4. I am interested in your position towards GMO, but I don’t see why part of this GMO are bad. There are GMO with improved nutrients and vitamin contents and those are helpful. It seems like this topic is blamed because of ethical reasons and reasons like the fear of “playing God”, towards which I myself have reservations as well. But I think we are a little too afraid and reticent towards GMOs. We are already using and consuming plants which are obtained through various genetic modifications. I am studying the genetics and the methods used for obtaining the organisms, and they look promising and with great perspectives. The people who are interested in studying and exploring this field of science shouldn’t be seen as mad scientists. It is basically an ethics problem. As for Monsanto, well, they are retreating from most of Europe because of low income from those countries, but this shouldn’t be seen as a victory against GMOs, but against a company using them to make money. If you see, Monsanto is rejected by the countries with a better defined national identity who fear lose of independence in favour of this huge companies. I doubt that if these plants were free or produced by local smaller companies, they would still be rejected.

    1. That’s an interesting perspective! It’s true that the arguments against multinational seed corporations and those against the practice of GMOs directly are often mixed here in Europe. I guess also that often times, the label of “GMOs” spans a very broad range of practices that go from Monsanto-style resistance leading to increased pesticide use to the more benign nutritional changes that you are talking about. And thus there is just as broad a range of public opinion – I would doubt that Europeans would approve of the first kind of GMOs no matter who produces them, but they might be more accepting of other uses that are currently not often mentioned in public discourse. Thanks for commenting!

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