The world's largest producer of seeds, Monsanto, has apparently given up on attempts to spread its genetically modified plant varieties in Europe. A German media report said the firm would end all lobbying for approval.
The German newspaper "taz" reported Friday that US agriculture behemoth Monsanto had dropped any plans to have farmers grow its genetically modified (GM) plant varieties in Europe.
Monsanto Europe spokesman Brandon Mitchener was quoted as saying the company would no longer engage in any lobbying fur such plants on the continent, adding that at the moment the firm was unwilling to apply for approval of any GM plants.
Monsanto said its decision was partly based on low demand from European farmers. "We've understood that such plants don't have any broad acceptance in European societies," Monsanto Germany spokeswoman Ursula Lüttmer-Ouazane commented. "We haven't been bale to make any progress over the years, and it's counter-productive to tilt against windmills," she added.
The German Agriculture Ministry said Monsanto's move was a corporate decision and would not comment further. But it added it was no secret the ministry had been highly critical of gene modification technologies.
"The promises of GM industry have not come true for European agriculture, nor have they for the agriculture in developing and emerging economies," the ministry said in a statement.
In Germany, the protest movement against GM plants has been particularly strong for years. Vociferous rallying prompted the government in 2009 to prohibit the growing of Monsanto's MON810 GM maize variety.
Rivals of the US company, such as Bayer CropScience, BASF and Syngenta had largely withdrawn from the German market because of large-scale public opposition, the "taz" report claimed.
hg/mz (dpa, AFP)