If we make a comparison between the commitment of organic research crops versus GM, the latter certainly has the upper hand. And that is, in fact, the Spanish government spends 60 times more money to fund research on GM crops and food, which reduces research in organic farming.
It is a reality: These data show the clear support of the Government to GM, compared to social models and environmentally sustainable. According to Friends of the Earth, this support "is not justified when one considers that organic farming produces 25 times more jobs and takes 16 times more area in Spain." In these times of economic crisis and high unemployment rates, Friends of the Earth, requires the Government to a firm commitment to agriculture and food models that respect the environment and to generate employment and social fabric in rural areas.
According to 2008 data, the Government had invested 54.3 million euros in research in agricultural and food biotechnology. Against this amount, investment in research in organic farming was only € 0.9 million. While other countries around us are committed to sustainable agriculture models such as organic farming, the Government's commitment by the industrial agriculture model representing GM reflects well on this data, in which:
Spain is the only country that permits the cultivation of GM maize on a large scale, with 76,000 hectares in 2009, 20% of the total maize grown in Spain. While countries like France, Germany, Greece, Austria, Poland, Hungary and Italy banned its cultivation for its environmental impacts, uncertainties health and inability to protect conventional and organic agriculture from contamination by GMOs. Among the consequences in Spain, is the virtual disappearance of organic maize crops in regions where GM maize is concentrated, or severe economic losses and market sectors such as feed, livestock, industry greening or pollution.
The government allows 42% of all outdoor experiments with genetically modified crops that are made in the European Union conducted in Spain. This has been possible thanks to policy of opacity and lack of transparency of the Government, which has refused to publish the exact location of these experiments. Friends of the Earth recently made this information public, governments like the United Kingdom, Portugal and Germany are publicly available on their websites.
"With such high unemployment rate and a state of complete abandonment of rural areas, the Government has to opt for agriculture models that generate employment and social fabric of the country, in addition to responding to social demand for healthy and quality food and agriculture models that respect the environment, "said David Sanchez, in charge of Agriculture and Food Friends of the Earth.
According to 2008 data, compared with fewer than 2,000 jobs generated by agricultural biotechnology in Spain, considering the agro-biotechnology industrial workers and farmers who grow genetically modified corn, organic farming generates 49 717 jobs.
On the surface, there were 79 269 hectares planted with GM maize in Spain in 2008, while the surface of organic farming was 1,317,751.88 ha. And in 2009, the area cultivated with biotech fell by 4% when the surface in organic farming increased by 21.6%.
The Government is still committed to promoting through public support for agricultural biotechnology research, despite that organic farming produces 25 times more employment in Spain and occupies 16 times more surface.
"Spanish society has made it clear through social mobilization and surveys its rejection of the introduction of GM foods. Why the Government insists at all costs continue to promote the interests of the industry? "Added Sanchez.