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Italy pays dear for GM maize ban

Italian maize farmers lose €175-400 ($240-550)/ha from not planting genetically modified insect-resistant maize, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service says. That produces an annual “loss” of €150-350 million ($210-480 million), it adds. The extra costs are calculated from “unnecessary” pesticide use and lower yields from conventional lines. It cites figures from the Italian maize growers’ association, the AMI, and the agricultural pressure group, Futuragra. The constitutional court, the Council of State, found for Futuragra early last year, directing the Ministry of Agriculture to lift the moratorium on GM maize within 90 days. Field trials of GM maize and of others crops were approved in late 2008 ( Agrow No 559, p 10), but have been “irrationally” held up by government, the group complains. An independent study last year found more than half (53%) of Italian farmers wanted the choice of planting GM maize.

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