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Biotech: a direct or indirect solution 43-49to the agricultural economy?


AgroFOOD industry hi-tech


A recent study by the University of Reading (UK) revealed that European farmers are missing out on €443 and €929 million each year because they are not allowed to grow genetically modified (GM) crops. As of March 2011, in fact, only two GM crops have been approved for cultivation in Europe. The more widely grown of the two, MON810, is a type of maize that helps fight off a pest endemic to areas of Europe, the European maize borer. The other is a potato for industrial use called Amflora, approved in 2010. Its waxy starch content is useful for making paper, for example. However, several European Union (EU) member states, including Italy, have issued bans on cultivation of one or both of these crops approved at EU level. Despite bans on cultivation, the EU animal feed sector is highly dependent on agricultural commodities imports, many of which are GM. As of May 2011, a total of 36 GM crops were approved for import and processing and/or for food and feed in Europe. More than half of those crops were types of GM maize, and other crops included soybeans, rapeseed, sugar beets and cotton. 33 million tons of soya meal equivalents were imported in the 2008-09 season and four mill ...