Monsanto stops GM wheat efforts

MONSANTO has decided to defer all further efforts to introduce its genetically modified Roundup Ready wheat.

The company announced that it will be realigning research and development investments to speed up the development of new and improved traits in corn, cotton, and oilseeds.

As part of this realignment, the company said, it will defer any efforts to introduce Roundup Ready wheat “until such time that other wheat biotechnology traits are introduced”.

“As a result of our portfolio review and dialogue with wheat industry leaders, we recognize the business opportunities with Roundup Ready spring wheat are less attractive relative to Monsanto‘s other commercial priorities,” said Carl Casale, executive vice president of Monsanto.

“We will continue to monitor the wheat industry‘s desire for crop improvements, via breeding and biotechnology, to determine if and when it might be practical to move forward with a biotech wheat product,” Mr Casale said.

Monsanto began the technical development stage of Roundup Ready wheat in 1997, but will now discontinue breeding and field level research of this variety.

Pete Riley GM campaigner of Friends of the Earth said: “This is a worldwide victory for consumers and farmers.

“Virtually every major wheat-user in the world rejected this product before it was even allowed on the market.”

“This is another major financial blow to Monsanto. It should now pull out of this discredited business once and for all.”

“The biotech industry and governments must now recognise that this technology is a blind alley and that we should focus research on new crop management and technology aimed at sustainable farming,” Mr Riley said.