CSTA disowns its long-awaited GM alfalfa co-existence plan
(September 12, 2013, St. Marys, ON). After nearly a year of deliberation and controversy, the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA), a lobby group representing large seed companies such as Monsanto, Bayer, Dupont Pioneer and Forage Genetics International, finally announced its Coexistence plan for GM alfalfa hay in Eastern Canada” earlier this week.
Astonishingly, the organization emphasizes that it “does not “own” the plan,” which was “developed by a number of value chain participants” who are not identified anywhere in the document. The entire first page of the plan is devoted to a disclaimer where the CSTA attempts to shed all liability for losses due to relying on the “best practices” detailed in the document.
“Obviously, the CSTA is unwilling to accept responsibility for their co-existence plan – and neither is anyone else,” said Phil Woodhouse, President of the Grey County Local of the National Farmers Union. “The CSTA’s disavowal of any liability indicates they have zero confidence in the plan themselves, and are seriously concerned that when – not if – it fails, they could be sued.”
The NFU is on record as opposing the commercial release of GM alfalfa in Canada.
“We know it is inevitable that it would contaminate non-GM alfalfa and cause losses to farmers who rely on non-GM markets for hay, livestock, dairy and other crops where alfalfa is part of the crop rotation,” explained Ann Slater, NFU member from St. Marys, ON. “In July, we co-published The Canadian Seed Trade Association’s So-called “Coexistence Plan” is a Gateway to GM Alfalfa Contamination: Commentary and Technical Paper with the CBAN, which provides detailed evidence that “co-existence” is not possible.”
“After the Canada-wide protests against GM alfalfa in April, Forage Genetics International said it would not start selling GM alfalfa seed until a coexistence plan was in place,” said Woodhouse. “It is unacceptable for them to use this plan – which the seed industry has patently disclaimed – to justify the sale of GM alfalfa seed, which once planted cannot be recalled.” Forage Genetics International registered a variety of Roundup Ready Alfalfa in April, 2013.
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For more information:
CSTA’s Disclaimer from 2013 Coexistence Plan for Alfalfa Hay in Eastern Canada: Planning for Choice:
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What is the NFU?
The National Farmers Union is a direct-membership voluntary organization made up of Canadian farm families who share common goals. It is the only farm organization incorporated through an Act of Parliament.
NFU members believe that the problems facing farmers are common problems, and that farmers producing diverse products must work together to advance effective solutions. The NFU works toward the development of economic and social policies that will maintain the family farm as the primary food-producing unit in Canada.