Genetically modified crops: coexistence with conventional crops, pipeline of new GM crops, and socio-economic impacts for Europe
The concept of coexistence concerns the economic aspects associated with the admixture of Genetically Modified (GM) and non-GM crops. IPTS' current research on coexistence deals with identifying and evaluating the cost-efficiency of technical measures to achieve coexistence at landscape level in selected crops and EU regions. IPTS also carries out research on the economic impact at farm level and aggregated economic effects for the European economy of the adoption and diffusion of GM crops by European farmers.
Coexistence allows farmers to choose between conventional, organic or genetically modified (GM) crop production, in compliance with the relevant EU legislation on labelling and/or purity standards. So far, EU experience with the commercial cultivation of GM crops and practical coexistence measures is limited to GM maize in some Member States.
Since agriculture does not take place in a closed environment, complete segregation cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, EU regulations establish a 0.9% labelling threshold for the adventitious – unintended or unavoidable – presence of approved GM material in non-GM products. For GM material from crops that are not (yet) approved for use in the EU there is "zero tolerance". This poses new challenges for EU importers of these crops if traces of such GM material are found in shipments.
Previous research led by the IPTS helped develop tools allowing the estimation of adventitious admixture of GM and conventional crops in a given landscape. IPTS has also produced the first empirical analysis of the economic impacts of a GM crop adopted in European agriculture (Bt maize in Spain). Building on that experience, IPTS will extend its research to analysing the potential socio-economic impacts of the adoption of GM oilseed rape and GM maize in European agriculture. IPTS will also monitor the pipeline of upcoming GM crops worldwide to integrate also trade aspects in its research on the impact of GM crops for Europe.
Scenarios for co-existence of GM and non-GM crops in European agriculture
New case studies on the co-existence of GM and non-GM crops in European agriculture
Sustainable Introduction of GMOs into European Agriculture (SIGMEA)
Plant molecular farming: opportunities and challenges
The global pipeline of new GM crops