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EU GM Corn Sowings Hits Three-Year Low

Cultivation of genetically modified (GM) corn in the European Union has dropped to a three-year low, despite increasing reliance on GM soybean imports. Lower global grain prices, including that of corn, have contributed to lower plantings – reaching 128,123 hectares this year, which represents less than 1% of global plantings and a 10% drop from last year’s EU plantings.

Increasing regulatory constraints against GM across the EU have also contributed to lower GM plantings. In Romania, the only approved GM crop, corn, was only planted on 2.5 hectares this year - down from 771 hectares last year. "This is mainly due to the fact that feed manufacturers and livestock farmers prefer to avoid segregation in the warehouses and to reduce the paperwork associated with the use of genetically engineered corn," according to U.S. Department of Agriculture officials.

Difficulties marketing GM corn has caused gradual declines in the Czech Republic and even in Spain, which is a relatively large producer of GM corn in the EU, plantings have dropped 8-9% this year.

These trends come even as the EU imports of GM crops stays steady due to a lack of available alternatives. "As the global cultivation of genetically engineered crops expands, it is increasingly difficult for European importers to source non-biotech products," the USDA report said.

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