27 June 2000
GM compensation deal next month
by FWi staff
COMPENSATION for British farmers who unwittingly planted GM-contaminated oilseed rape is expected to be agreed by the end of next month.
Advanta Seeds, which supplied up to 600 farmers this spring with enough seed to plant 4700 hectares of the rape, said the deal was almost completed.
Compensation is also being discussed in other countries where contaminated Hyola seed was planted, said Bram van der Have, Advanta arable crops manager.
“We should have proposals back from farm unions in Sweden, Scotland, England and France in the next ten days and will have something with farmers by late July,”
Whether Hyola brands are marketed next year now largely hinges whether the seed varieties receive backing from the seed trade, said Mr van der Have.
GM-free seed stocks are available, and could be tested for compliance with European Union standards once those are agreed, he added.
“It now depends on commercial decisions – whether the trade will support the varieties and what the risk is of importing more contaminated seed.”
Mr van der Have said that over 99% of the growers who planted the contaminated seed had now been contacted and were largely understanding.
Advanta is now considering claiming compensation from the companies which developed the GM traits which contaminated its Hyola spring rape seed.
Mr van der Have said: “It is not yet clear cut that the GM companies did not have a responsibility to advise us on the need for greater separation distances.
Initial test results indicated last week that GM traits developed by Monsanto and Aventis were present in some of the seed which was imported from Canada.