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Chile Moves to Regulate and Permit Cultivation of GM Crops

Wednesday, May 5th 2010 - 05:58 UTC
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Chilean Agriculture Ministry José Antonio Galilea Chilean Agriculture Ministry José Antonio Galilea

Chilean Agriculture Ministry José Antonio Galilea announced this week plans to introduce legislation to regulate and permit the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops in Chile.

José Antonio Galilea said he has already formed an advisory team to study the matter and to propose legislation in June or July this year. Current legislation strictly limits transgenic crops to seed production, and all seeds must be exported. “Current policy is incomprehensible, and we believe the best way to fix it is through legislation,” said Galilea.

“Without genetically modified (GM) technology, domestic producers are at a disadvantage to compete in a globalized and competitive international market. The current legislation is extremely detrimental to the interests of our farmers.”

Chile’s scientific community is already working on genetic modifications to peaches, which if successful, could help improve Chile’s export peach deal by assuring better quality peaches with a longer shelf life.

Today, only four countries account for 99% of the world’s commercial grown transgenic crops. The United States leads the way with 39 million hectares of genetically modified crops, followed by Argentina with 13.5 million hectares. Canada has 3.5 million hectares, while China has 2.1 million hectares. Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Germany, Romania, South Africa, India, Indonesia and Australia all grow transgenic crops, but have less than 1 million hectares, according to records from the Nature Publishing Group.

The four main commercial GM crops are soy, cotton, canola, and corn/maize. There are 72 million hectares of non-GM soya crops worldwide compared to 37 million hectares of GM soya crops. With corn/maize there are 140 million hectares of non-GM crops compared to 12 million hectares of GM crops. In cotton crops there are 34 million hectares of non-GM and 7 million GM, while in Canola/rape there are 25 million hectares of non-GM crops worldwide and 3 million hectares of GM crops.

By Laura Burgoine – Santiago Times

Categories: Agriculture, Latin America.

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