On Tuesday, the European
Commission will formally propose giving back to national and local
governments the freedom to decide whether to grow crops that many
Europeans still call Frankenfoods.
The new policy is aimed at overcoming a stalemate that has severely
curtailed the market for biotech seeds in Europe for years. Only two
crops, produced by Monsanto
and B.A.S.F., are sold for cultivation here.
The new flexibility is supposed to open up markets in countries like the
Netherlands, where governments are broadly favorable toward growing and
trading biotech products, while countries like Austria, where the
products are unpopular, can maintain a ban.
But far from celebrating, the growing global industry, as well as some farmers themselves, is extremely wary of the new approach.