Public debates / Stakeholder activities

Public debate and stakeholder opinions

A French interministerial website informs about GMOs in France:

No consensus: French farmers do not agree on co-existence.
No consensus: French farmers do not agree on co-existence.
Biotechnology industries

Seed producers and chemical companies are officially in favour of establishing co-existence in order to permit consumer choice. They promote GM plants as a “key to the future”.


The FNSEA (the traditional farmers organisation) and the JA (YouthFarmers) defend a pragmatic approach. They favour co-existence based on consumer choice.

The “Confédération Paysanne” is the leading movement against GMOs. They reject co-existence proposals, because they consider accepting co-existence as a form of accepting GMOs.

The organic farmers movement (FNAB) has published a catalogue of strict technical requirements for co-existence, which they consider necessary to preserve the existence of organic farming. Because the suggestions of the organisation were too strict to be practical, it was concluded in October 2003 that co-existence is impossible.


Consumers are in favour of labelling and traceability for GMOs. They support the “freedom of choice” approach.

Initiatives against GMOs

Since 2002, two major campaigns against GMOs have been launched.

The first, “Ni essai, Ni culture OGM. Pour ma commune je m’engage”, demands of local authorities that GMO field trials and commercial use be banned. Claiming that local governments lacked the authority to make such decisions, the federal government responded by demanding that the court invalidate GMO bans enacted by local authorities. The Administrative Court has cancelled most such bylaws.

The second campaign is the Florence charta from February 2005. The “charta of the regions and local authorities of Europe on co-existence of genetically modified crops with traditional and organic farming” identifies regional governments that have taken a clear stance against GMOs, and promotes GM-free agriculture. In France, the following regions are members of the charta: Aquitaine, Bretagne, Île de France, Limousin, and Poitou-Charente. The relevance of these declarations is unclear, because the European Commission decided that regional governments have no competency to ban GMOs.

Moreover, several operations to destroy transgenic corn plantations are the talk of the town in newspapers during the summer 2006. Several anti-GMO militants, mainly members of the action group who are signatories to the charter of the Voluntary Reapers, also were put under investigation, and set free under legal surveillance. The former leader of the country confederation had called for the continuation of civic disobedience.

Regional Co-extra reporter /rapporteur:

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