Farmers to plant more GMOs
Prague – At a meeting with Czech stakeholders in Prague in December, EuropaBio expressed its appreciation that the Czech Republic is one of the ‘pro-biotech’ EU member states. In January when the Czech Republic took over the rotating EU presidency from GMO-sceptic France, it announced that the pharma package and further progress concerning an EU patent will be among its priorities.
At the meeting Jan Veleba, the president of the Czech Agrarian Chamber, reported an increase in expressed interest among Czech farmers for Bt maize. He added that the EU’s reserved attitude towards agribiotech, which he criticised as not based on science, puts European farmers in an unfavourable position.
Increasing GMO acreage
In 2005, Czech farmers still grew Bt maize only on an experimental scale. But after the Czech Republic became the first EU member state to establish co-existence rules in 2006, cash crops of the GM plant were grown on more than 8,000 ha last year. The co-existence rules stipulate that Bt maize must be cultivated more than 70 metres away from conventionally planted corn and 200 metres away from organic corn fields. According to representatives from the Czech farm Rostenice, the economic benefits are clear. They placed their gains at EUR 137 euros per hectare.