Co-Existence measures

Co-existence measures and legal aspects

In December 2006, a draft of the Slovene Act on the co-existence of genetically modified plants with other agricultural plants was sent for notification to the European Commission and to other Member States. 

Legal framework

A legal framework for the co-existence of genetically modified, conventional, and organic farming systems is under preparation. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food is the competent authority for co-existence. A draft Act on the co-existence of genetically modified plants with other crops was published in August 2006 and was made available for public perusal. In December 2006, the draft was sent for notification to the Commission and to other Member States.

The draft Act lays down a legal framework for the regulation of the co-existence of different farming methods in Slovenia, i.e., the cultivation of genetically modified agricultural plants, conventional cultivation and organic cultivation. The draft Act applies to genetically modified agricultural plant varieties which have been approved for commercial cultivation within the EU.

In order to ensure co-existence and to prevent the accidental presence of GMOs in other products, the draft Act establishes several new systems. These include the issuing of licences for the cultivation of GMOs, the registration of producers of GM plants and distributors of GM seed material, and the information of neighbouring producers. The draft Act outlines the obligations with which producers of GMOs must comply to ensure co-existence, as well as the relevant measures that they must undertake. It also enables the determination, on a voluntary basis, of areas for the cultivation of GMOs and areas free of GMOs.

For damage that may arise as a result of the presence of GMOs in the products of other producers, the draft Act imposes liability on the person who violates the regulations. For the event of loss of income resulting from the accidental presence of GMOs in conventional or organic fields and products, the draft also establishes a system of compensation.

The draft Act prescribes a system of monitoring of co-existence, establishes inspection and supervision of the implementation of the Act, and lays down penalties for those who violate the Act.

The draft Act gives the Slovenian Government the competence to adopt technical regulations that define more detailed measures for ensuring co-existence: these include, for example, the width of the buffer zone and the compulsory alternation of crops for individual varieties of agricultural plants.

The draft proposal can be downloaded from the European Commission website.

Regional Co-extra reporter /rapporteur:
  • Dr. Mojca Milavec
    National institute of biology, Department of biotechnology and systems biology
    Vecna pot 111, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
    Phone: +386 1 42 33 388
    Fax: +386 1 25 73 847

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