Bucharest (AFP) April 6, 2011
Romanian Agriculture Minister Valeriu Tabara on Wednesday said he wanted his country to grow genetically-modified soy, a crop that is not currently allowed by the European Union.
"Romania every year imports about 500,000 tons of GM soy from Brasil, the United States and other countries. It is unacceptable that we are allowed to consume this +poison+ but that we are not allowed to produce it", Tabara said quoted by Romanian news agency Mediafax.
"Romania could grow about two millions of tons of soy. It is the only European country that can grow this plant at an industrial level", the minister added.
Tabara, who is a staunch promoter of GM-crops, underlined that Romania could also grow more GM-maize. The country currently allows the genetically-modified maize MON 810 from US giant Monsanto.
"There is a big chance that we will cultivate GM-crops in the future in Romania because I usually carry out what I start", he said.
Tabara's pro GM-food stands prompted "indignation" from Agent Green, one of the leading environmental NGO in Romania.
"Most of the genetically modified plants create problems for the environment and health", Agent Green said.
In September last year, over 70 environmental NGOs including the WWF called for the sacking of Tabara for his links to the genetically modified crop industry.
Tabara acknowledged he had worked for Monsanto, one of the biggest GM-food producer.
"There is nothing illegal or secret about this", he said then to daily Evenimentul Zilei.
Just two GM-crops are currently authorised in the EU-- a maize strain for animal feed and a potato for paper-making. Decisions on a lengthening list of others are in deadlock.
Seven states -- Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg have banned Monsanto maize cultivation.
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