Biotech industry orchestrating law breaking in Italy
Interesting to juxtapose this information in the following Reuters article with the Italian press article we circulated yesterday which exposes exactly how this resistance, and threat of court action, has been orchestrated by the biotech industry:
"Representatives of the two companies [Monsanto and Pioneer Hi-Bred] are contacting farmers one by one to convince them not to destroy the fields. In exchange, they are offering free legal assistance and asking them to sign a mandate to appeal the order that obliges them to destroy the crop". (from the second article below)
According to an official with Italy's largest farmer's organisation, "Anyone who does not obey the order will be breaking the law."
Such involvement in illegality may be nothing new however. According to the Italian press piece, the "criminal authorities" are already "investigating Pioneer Hi-Bred Italia's chief executive Giuseppe Manara for breaching a 1971 seed law".
Sounds like the industry sees Italy as ideal territory for organised crime.
* Italy: farmers resist order to wreck gene crop
* Monsanto, Pioneer urge Italian farmers to fight GM crop cull
Italy: farmers resist order to wreck gene crop
Reuters, July 14, 2003
ROME - Farmers are resisting an order by Piedmont region in north Italy to destroy almost 400 hectares of maize fields thought to contain genetic material, and may take the matter to court, farm officials said on Monday.
An official with Coldiretti, Italy's biggest farmers' association and an opponent of commercial biotech sowings, told Reuters that just 10 hectares of maize near Cuneo had been destroyed by Monday morning.
Piedmont on Friday ordered the destruction within five days of 381 hectares of maize found to contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) after a recent routine inspection.
"Anyone who does not obey the order will be breaking the law," Coldiretti's environment specialist, Stefano Masini, said.
Under Italian law, the sowing of genetically modified crops in open fields is banned.
Officials with Confagricoltura, another farmers' group, questioned whether farmers who destroyed their crops would receive compensation.
Some Confagricoltura farmers were considering going to court to challenge the Piedmont order because the amount of genetic material had not been established, farm sources said.
The Piedmont authorities did not say how the contamination of the maize arose.
Monsanto, Pioneer urge Italian farmers to fight GM crop cull
MILAN (AFX) - Monsanto Co and Pioneer Hi-Bred are urging farmers to oppose demands by the Piedmont regional authority that they destroy genetically modified crops, said La Repubblica on Sunday.
The newspaper cited the leader of a farmers' organisation, after farmers began meeting legal demands for them to plough up fields of maize grown from genetically modified seed, it said.
"Representatives of the two companies are contacting farmers one by one to convince them not to destroy the fields," said Giorgio Ferrero, from the Coldiretti farmers organisation.
"In exchange, they are offering free legal assistance and asking them to sign a mandate to appeal the order that obliges them to destroy the crop," he said in the newspaper.
However, the Confagricoltura organisation was cited as saying that about 30 farmers have asked their lawyers to fight the destruction demands, it said.
The Piedmont region's president Enzo Ghigo's order for the destruction of the maize was welcomed by farm minister Gianni Alemanno, who said the decision was "courageous", it said.
The newspaper said criminal authorities are investigating Pioneer Hi-Bred Italia's chief executive Giuseppe Manara for breaching a 1971 seed law, updated in 2001 for genetically modified seeds.