Inevitable contamination is one of the many risks of growing genetically modified (GM) crops.
Currently, non-GM farmers bear all of the costs of GM contamination. Even if they didn’t choose to grow GM, they are forced to pay clean-up costs and lose their non-GM premium if their land becomes contaminated by surrounding GM crops. Contaminated farmers could also be forced to pay GM seed royalties at silo under the End Point Royalty Treaty. This is not fair.
Contamination is inevitable
Genetically modified crops can’t be contained. Whether it’s through wind, floods, cross-pollination or basic human error, it is inevitable that GM crops will spread to conventional farmlands and roadsides, becoming worse year on year.
Currently the only option a non-GM farmer has for compensation is to sue their neighbour. The result is an expensive legal battle that is dividing local communities. There has to be a better way.
‘Farmer Protection’ Law
Greenpeace is working with Western Australian farmers to promote a ‘Farmer Protection’ law. This law would take liability for GM costs off individual growers and
return it to GM companies. It would work to protect both GM and non-GM growers, who don’t need to be dragged through the courts. Now that GM companies are pushing to grow GM wheat, providing protection for farmers in cases of GM contamination is even more urgent.
A Farmer Protection Law would:
• Establish a publicly managed fund, paid into by GM companies, to compensate non-GM landholders for contamination by GM crops.
• The fund would be administered by an independent Government administrator.
• To get compensation, applicants would have to prove the presence of GM crops on their land and declare that they did not plant GM crops.
• Money for the fund would be raised by putting an annual levy on GM companies, which make billions from patents on GM seeds.
• The fund would allow compensation for costs and losses to be paid quickly and easily.
• No individual grower would have to go to court.