Soybeans from Ukraine: Genetically modified and undeclared
In Ukraine, genetically modified soybeans are cultivated illegally on a large scale and marketed without declaration. This is shown by studies conducted by the Romanian environmental organisation Agent Green.
This year, Agent Green had drawn 60 samples of soy fields in six Ukrainian regions. Half of the fields were planted with GM varieties. This is illegal, writes Agent Green, as the cultivation of GM plants in Ukraine must be entered in a public register. However, not a single crop is listed in the register. The Austrian Federal Environment Agency examined 12 of the 60 samples; it found genetic material from GM varieties of Bayer subsidiary Mosanto, in particular the glyphosate-resistant line MON 40-3-2. “The results show that this is not contamination, but deliberate cultivation,” says Agent Green founder Gabriel Paun: “The question arises as to how the GM seeds reached the Ukraine. The situation in Ukraine is out of control “as it was in Romania 20 years ago”.
Leading representatives of the global agricultural movement have called for a stop to all releases of gene drives.
The majority of Ukrainian beans is sold to the EU. Agent Green points out that according to the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine, the latter must have implemented the EU release directive by the end of 2019. This is likely to be difficult, estimates Paun, as most of the infrastructure is already contaminated with GM soy. As a result, companies exporting GMO-free goods would have to spend more on quality assurance. In his statement, Agent Green also quotes the representative of the Donau Soja Organisation in Ukraine, who expressed his concern and offered the country help in solving the problem. Donau Soja promotes GMO-free, sustainable and regional protein supply in Europe.
Agent Green’s report puts this year’s total soybean acreage in Ukraine at 1.7 million hectares. The most important EU consumer countries for soybeans and soy meal from Ukraine are the Netherlands with imports worth 70 million euros, Italy with 56 million euros and Greece with almost 36 million euros. Germany imported 14 million euros worth of soya from Ukraine.
The warnings against illegal GM soy from Ukraine are not new. As early as 2016, the US Department of Agriculture and the German Thünen Institute reported on large-scale cultivation of GM soy. (organic-market)