Evolution of state policy on GMOs and its impact on the potential of rural areas in Poland

In the last dozen years or so the world experienced a dynamic growth in cultivations of genetically modified plants. Agricultural producers, achieving measurable economic benefits, have developed the production of genetically modified plants to an increasingly great scale. The number of supporters of the GMOs the potential to improve income owing to this technology, but also among politicians noting the chances for agriculture to contribute to providing solutions to basic problems of the world today, e.g.: ensuring food and energy safety. Genetically modified food and food produced with the use of raw materials obtained from GMO plants has become a permanent element of our diet and forms an increasing part of food consumed today. Currently, it is difficult to produce poultry and pig meat, in particular in Europe and other highly-developed countries, without feed containing genetically modified soy. The list of highly processed food products has been expanding quickly and the number of opponents of releasing genetically modified organisms into the environment has been on the raise. Social concern about unknown, long-term effects of unnatural genetic manipulations on natural environment and consumer health has been growing, though so far, despite numerous tests, no significant evidence of their negative impact on human and animal health was found. For several years, Poland has been one of the opponents of using modified plants and has been trying, by means of national legal provisions, to prevent from using this technology both in agriculture and food processing, which makes the respective provisions of acts on feedstuff and the act on seed contradictory to the EU legislation. This article provides a revision of evolution of views on GMO, current legal state in the European Union and Poland as well as proposed changes in this regard. Development of genetically modified plants production in the world was also analysed, both in terms of species cultivated and countries using them in agricultural production. Selected economic and social effects, a given state policy may have on the current and future potential of rural areas in Poland, were presented against this background. In 2011, genetically modified plants were cultivated within the area of 160 million ha, and the number of countries in which their use was permitted increased to 29. Average annual pace of increase as regards these cultivations since 1996, i.e. when commodity production with the use of modified plants was first launched, reached over 35%, i.e. ca. 10 million ha. In this period a total of 1.25 billion ha was subject to cultivation with the number of farmers involved in non-conventional production exceeding 110 million. According to estimations, global benefits of using GM plants in cultivation reached nearly USD 10.8 billion in 2009, and since 1996 they exceeded USD 64 billion in total. Under Polish conditions, from the point of view of economic aspects the problem of whether to use GMOs in field crops or not, is considerably insignificant, yet political decisions on possible prohibition of marketing of GMO products, especially including protein feed components, may have negative impact on farmers involved in commodity animal production (poultry and pig livestock, to a lesser extent bovine animals).

Chmieliński, Paweł
Baer-Nawrocka, Agnieszka
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Book/ Chapter
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ISBN 978-83-7658-378-5 (Other)
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Rural Areas and Development, Volume 10
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Rural Areas and Development

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-11-10

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