The main events of 2004 - 10 perspectives (27/1/2005)


These reports provide brief summaries of some of the main events of 2004 with links to further information. Some reports also have appendices of relevant news reports.

GRAIN on GM crops worldwide
GM-free zones continued to expand in Europe and around the world. In Africa small farmers took clear stands against the heavy GM push, as did indigenous peoples in Mexico. The science behind GM was also increasingly shown to be too simplistic, reductionist and outdated.

Italy - Review of the year
By the end of 2004 almost 2,000 Italian towns and cities and the majority of Italy's regions had declared their territory GM-free. In addition, a law severely restricting the planting of GM crops had received the backing of the Italian Government despite a fierce campaign of disinformation by the pro-GM lobby.

France - Review of the year
2004 was a busy year in France for those involved in campaigning against GM crops. There was much action at both local and national level, as well as overtly and covertly in the fields, to keep GM crops and GM food out of the food chain.

Japan - Review of the year
Consumers in Japan have been very active opposing GMO since 1996, and have achieved several notable victories over the years, but in 2004 came the most remarkable victory of all when people power brought the global biotech juggernaught to a grinding halt.

California and Hawaii: Luke Anderson on grassroots actions
2004 was possibly the most inspiring year on record as far as local activism on genetic engineering issues in the US is concerned. In Vermont 79 towns passed resolutions against GMOs while the State government passed a groundbreaking seed-labelling bill, the first of its kind in the US. In California in March, voters in Mendocino county passed the first law in the US to ban GMO releases into the environment, despite more than $600,000 pumped into the county by the biotech industry in a massive disinformation campaign. Other counties have followed suit.

The Philippines - GM deception
Monsanto's Bt corn is distributed in the Philippines without proper labels. Farmers are seldom informed that the seeds they are getting are genetically-engineered. Often, it is the government which buys the seeds from Monsanto or its distributors, and these are then distributed for free or at subsidized prices to unsuspecting farmers. The area of GM crops is expanding only through stealth, deception and the complicity of officials.

Kenya's bumper crop of lobbyists
In 2004 suspicions that the GM industry is targeting Kenya as the doorway to East Africa were confirmed. Pro-GM lobby groups based in Nairobi have been attempting to influence policy in favour of GMOs. In response, a coalition of NGOs has emerged. 2004 was also the year when the GM industry's best known showcase crop for Africa was shown to be a hoax.

England and Wales - Review of the year
The GM industry has effectively pulled out of the UK, and there is now not a single GM variety in the seed listing pipeline. A host of NGOs, consumer organizations and special interest groups took on - and defeated - the GM multinationals, the British government and a GM propaganda industry which is well resourced and knows all about media manipulation.

Scotland - Review of the year
The movement for GM-free zones in Scotland is steadily increasing with virtually the entire North of Scotland maintaining and extending this position during 2004. The Scottish Parliament came within a vote of blocking GM crop cultivation across the whole of the UK.

Australia - The farmer's view
2004 in Australia was a rewarding year for those with concerns regarding GM crops as, despite gaining Federal approval, GM canola has not been grown commercially in any Australian state, due to State moratoriums and bans

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