Portugal: Cultivation of GM maize extended without co-existence problems

In 2007, 164 farms in Portugal grew genetically modified maize on a total area of 4,199 hectares. Nationally, the cultivation of GM maize occupies thereby 3.6 per cent of the total maize area and has tripled in comparison to the previous year. Upon examination, no neighbouring fields were found to contain a GMO content greater than 0.9 per cent.

The coexistence legislation in Portugal requires minimum distances between GM and conventional/organic fields (200 m/300m). Portuguese officials conducted 82 inspections for unintentional outcrossing of GM maize. In 38 per cent of probes, officials were unable to detect GM maize in neighbouring stands of conventional maize. In 80 per cent of all probes, the proportion of GM maize remained under 0.3 per cent and all probes remained below the labelling threshold of 0.9 per cent.
Officials also polled farmers on their reasons for using GM maize. 86  per cent of farmers cited the reduction in the application of insecticide, 69 per cent cited better yields and, again, 86 per cent cited the higher quality of harvested products. The results of the surveillance with regard to the outcrossing of GM maize towards neighbouring fields are outlines in a report issued by the Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture.