EU Commission Releases Report on Socio-economic Impacts of GMOs
15 April 2011: The European Union (EU) Commission has released a report on the socio-economic implications of the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The report, which is based on contributions by EU member States, concludes that currently there is insufficient data for an adequate assessment.
The report summarizes information submitted by member States, reviews scientific literature from third countries, and provides an overview of findings from EU-funded research. Regarding information submitted by member States, it finds that such information is limited statistically. It also finds that information from States is frequently based on preconceived ideas about GMO cultivation, reflecting, among other things, the wide variety in understandings among member States and stakeholders, and polarized opinions, without analysis of the statistical relevance and scientific adequacy of the information.
The scientific literature reviewed shows that currently marketed GM crops can be economically beneficial to farmers, by reducing insecticide requirements or increasing yields, although the magnitude of profits varies. While most GM crops are cultivated by large-scale farmers, benefits to smallholders that do cultivate GMOs seem to be equal or higher than those of larger farmers. Overall, economic analyses have provided a good picture on economic impacts at the farm level world-wide, but less on social impacts. EU funded research projects have focused on: co-existence of GM and non-GM crops, and traceability of GM and non-GM supply chains; sustainable introduction of GM crops to European agriculture; and consumer preferences.
The report concludes that based on available information it would be inappropriate to perform a more targeted analysis of the peculiar items raised by States. Instead, the Commission suggests to: define a robust set of factors to properly capture the socio-economic consequences of GMO cultivation; and explore different approaches to making use of the increased understanding of the multi-dimensional socio-economic factors in the management of GMO cultivation in the EU. [EU Commission Press Release] [Publication: EU Commission Report on Socio-economic Impacts of GMO Cultivation]