Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dr. Ignatio Chapela on BASF's Announcement To Move GMOs Out Of EU

From Raj Patel's blog:
Dr. Ignatio Chapela on BASF's Announcement To Move GMOs Out Of EU

"Ignacio Chapela will be familiar to readers of Stuffed and Starved. He’s a soil biologist at Berkeley and an outspoken critic of genetically modified crops, a position which has focussed the wrath of the biotechnology industry upon him. Here is a short analysis he penned earlier today on news from Europe that chemical company BASF will be pulling its GMO operations from Europe, where they are unwelcome (because ineffective and dangerous), and moving them to North Carolina.

Will the English-speaking media lose its nerve and write about it? Based on past experience, my wager goes to the habitual policy of silence, and I expect that the news will continue all but unrecorded in English. Most of us will not celebrate as we should.

Other languages do comment and give a little more detail, albeit still briefly. In German, the word is printed clearly: “BASF admits defeat”, while in French: “The number one chemical concern in the world, the German BASF has announced on 16 January 2012 that it gives up the development and marketing of new transgenic products intended for the European Union.”

Clearly put: one of the largest among the few who banked on the GMO route to do agriculture is giving up in its own home turf, defeated by public opposition to its products which evidently do not live up to expectations.

You will find some records in the business websites, mostly deploring the European hostility towards GMOs, the loss of jobs (about 150-170 in Europe, although many are relocated to North Carolina, for an overall loss of about 10 jobs altogether) and repeating again the idea that rejecting GMOs in the environment is tantamount to committing economic suicide and “rejecting the future” as if this was possible.

I say that the future holds very little promise for GMOs altogether, and BASF is only the first to have the capacity to recognize the thirty years of bad investments. They can afford this move, which is not unannounced and forms part of a year-long reconfiguration of the company to navigate tighter economic straits ahead, because they are diversified and have strengths in other fields. Monsanto and Syngenta, for comparative example, have stood in complete dependency of GMOs since their mothership companies shed them off to swim or sink on transgenic markets twelve years ago; Bayer and Dow stand somewhere in between. Where Monsanto’s stock would have floundered if they announced they were closing GMO R & D in St Louis, Missouri, BASF’s stock hardly budged on the equivalent news (it actually ticked upwards in the Frankfurt exchange) – the timing of the news release may well have been a token of deference to BASF’s partner Monsanto, protecting the latter’s stock from the shock on a day when the US stock markets are closed.

End of excerpt.
Good for Europe, bad for America. As with not effectively addressing climate change we will be the only country growing and pushing these toxic seeds-because they can be used to subject the developing world to the whims of the corporations that run American big ag. Unless of course, millions of Americans stand up like people in Europe and all over the world have and resist just as hard. This is why information about them needs to continue to be disseminated out in this country, because once again our media has failed.

How they tried to silence Dr. Ignatio Chapela

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