The Irish government has made a move to ban the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops following an agreement between the country’s two coalition partners last week. The agreement, which declares Ireland a ‘GM-free Zone’, will ban the growing of all GM crops and introduce a voluntary ‘GM-free’ label for food, including meat, eggs, poultry, fish, crustaceans and dairy products made without the use of GM animal feed.
The move will put additional breaks on what Greenpeace EU GMO Policy Director Marco Costiero called ‘the global expansion of the risky, unproven and costly technology of genetically modified agriculture’. He remarked that ‘Ireland’s GM-free policy answers the serious concerns which European consumers have on GM food, and will allow Irish retailers and businesses to be rewarded for the good quality produce they bring to the market.’
GM-Free Ireland Co-ordinator Michael O'Callaghan commented that in addition to benefits to consumers and the environment, the ban will help Irish farmers who cannot compete with subsidized agriculture powerhouses. ‘The WTO's economic globalization agenda has forced most Irish farmers to enter an unwinnable race to the bottom for low quality GM-fed meat and dairy produce, in competition with countries like the USA, Argentina and Brazil which can easily out-compete us with their highly subsidized GM crop monocultures, cheap fossil fuel, extensive use of toxic agrochemicals that are not up to EU standards, and underpaid migrant farm labor’, he said.
Ireland joins a growing number of other countries that have opted for banning GM crops, includine Japan, Egypt and Germany. Agro-engineering giant Monsanto is yet to comment on the move.