Germany, Europe lose out as global plant sciences grow – VCI

08 February 2012 14:45  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Germany and most of Europe are lagging behind as the plant sciences market keeps growing globally, a German trade group said on Wednesday.

“While many countries are taking advantage of plant biotechnologies, Germany and Europe, unfortunately, are losing out,” said Stefan Marcinowski.

The BASF executive board member heads the biotechnology portfolio at German chemical trade group Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI).

Most of the growth in plant science technology happens in the US and Brazil. In Europe, only Spain and Portugal increased their plantings of genetically modified crops last year, VCI said.

Globally, plantings of gene-modified crops rose by 8% in 2011, to some 160m hectares, VCI said, citing data from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), a non-government group that promotes crop biotechnology.

In 29 countries worldwide, some 16.7m farmers were using gene-modified plants last year, up from 15.4m farmers in 2010.

Marcinowski warned Germany and Europe against basing decisions and policies about the application of gene-modified crops on “emotions, rather than science.”

Politicians and society needed to be “aware of the consequences” as firms are shifting high-tech jobs elsewhere because of an unfavourable policy environment in Europe, he said.

Last month, BASF announced it would move its plant sciences business from Germany to the US.

In related news, BASF said on Wednesday it would cooperate with Chinese firm COFCO Tunhe on sustainable tomato production in China.


By: Stefan Baumgarten
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