67% of maize growers in the main maize growing region of Italy, Lombardy, say they would be ready to cultivate GMOs immediately were they given the chance. 74% of them are also in favour of running field trials of GMOs in Italy so as to better understand the benefits.
These are the main findings of a survey on maize growers’ perception of GMOs carried out on a representative sample of 532 farms in Lombardy by Demoskopea on behalf of Assobiotec, the Italian association of biotechnology industries, within Federchimica.
“The results show that the farmer base in Lombardy is open to innovation and biotechnology” says Elisabetta Brambilla, the survey coordinator. According to 80,6% of maize growers “it is absurd to ban the cultivation of GMOs while allowing their import for feed”. 75,9% “feel unfairly penalised compared with farmers operating in other countries”. 75,6% consider GMOs “an innovative agricultural instrument”. And the underlying feeling for 74,8% of the farmers is that “farmers should be given the freedom to choose what to produce”.
“Demoskopea’s survey offers an insight into the high level of modernity, innovation and awareness of our agricultural sector;” declares the president of Assobiotec, Roberto Gradnik “this is very different from what is depicted by many politicians and agricultural associations in Italy who are clearly pursuing a prejudiced and ideological opposition to GMOs”.
According to Gradnik “the farming sector has confirmed its willingness to be dynamic and innovative, being acutely aware that these are the tools required to remain competitive on the increasingly international market that the farming sector faces today”.
“Those who are trying to manage the damage caused by fungi and parasites day in day out – continues Gradnik – can but appreciate the solutions offered by modern biotechnology. Genetically improved maize is not only safe for humans and animals but it offers economic benefits in terms of increased productivity given the pest and disease pressure”.
“We hope that those responsible for the legislative framework in Italy will finally end the ideological hostility against GMOs and allow the benefits to be felt in Italy as well, starting with allowing field trials in the country. This is no longer a request of industry alone, farmers are demanding the freedom to choose as well” concludes the President of Assobiotec.