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Cablegate: Commercial Gm Destructions Condemned; Farmers Stand Their

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Lucia A Keegan 09/18/2006 10:20:46 AM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS PARIS 06159

SIPDIS
cxparis:
ACTION: AGR
INFO: UNESCO SCI POL ECNO DCM AMB ECON TRDO

DISSEMINATION: AGRX
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: AGR: EBERRY
DRAFTED: AGR: MCHENARD
CLEARED: ECON: JHENNESSEY-NILAND SCI:RDRY PAO: JB(INFO) POL:BT(INFO)

VZCZCFRI714
RR RUEHC RUEHRC RUCNMEM RUEHMRE RUEHSR RUEHGV
RHEHAAA
DE RUEHFR #6159 2570529
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140529Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1301
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHMRE/AMCONSUL MARSEILLE 1322
RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 0179
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2486
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC

UNCLAS PARIS 006159

SIPDIS

BRUSSELS PASS USEU FOR AGMINCOUNSELOR
STATE FOR OES; EUR/ERA AND EB (SPIRNAK);
STATE PASS USTR FOR MURPHY;
USDA/OS/JOHANNS/TERPSTRA;
USDA/FAS FOR OA/YOST/SIMMONS/JONES;
ITP/SHEIKH/MACKE/TOM POMEROY/MIKE WOOLSEY/GREG YOUNG; BOB
RIEMENSCHNEIDER
FAA/SEBRANEK/DEVER;
EU POSTS PASS TO AGRICULTURE AND ECON
GENEVA FOR USTR, ALSO AGRICULTURE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD EU FR
SUBJECT: COMMERCIAL GM DESTRUCTIONS CONDEMNED; FARMERS STAND THEIR
GROUND

REF: Paris 5262

1. Summary: In the past several months, anti-Genetically Modified
Organisms (GMOs) groups have destroyed several commercial biotech
corn plantings. The latest incidents occurred on July 30 (see
reftel), and September 2. The French Ministry of Agriculture
reacted strongly and quickly to condemn both. France's largest
farmers union and the French Corn Growers Organization also firmly
reacted, organizing demonstrations in favor of the freedom to grow
biotech crops. Despite the destructions, biotech corn production is
on the rise. End summary.

1. On September 2, anti-biotech activists destroyed another
commercial field of biotech corn. The French Minister of
Agriculture quickly and vigorously condemned this action, as was the
case after the first destruction. He called these activities
"irresponsible acts of vandalism" and emphasized that French farmers
are the victims of these illegal actions.

2. For the first time, the largest farmers union in France(FNSEA)
also reacted. In a press communiqu, FNSEA said that the activists
"have no union, political, or scientific legitimacy and terrorize
farmers." FNSEA called on the GOF to take steps to prevent future
illegal activities against biotech corn plantings.

3. As the most actively pro-biotech stakeholder, the French Corn
Growers Association (AGPM) has been the most vocal in its protests,
announcing that a demonstration will be held in late September at
its headquarters in southwestern France against GM field
destructions and in favor of modern agriculture based on
biotechnology. AGPM has organized other demonstrations of farmers
in favor of the right to grow biotech corn. In its communiqus, AGPM
has stated corn growers affected by the destructions were
"economically and personally prejudiced."

4. Comment: Tension on the issue of biotech cultivation is
building, with the looming 2007 elections (for seats in the French
Chambers of Agriculture, at the Parliament and for the President).
While the biotech bill lingers in the French Parliament, some French
farmers are ever more determined to continue their cultivation of
biotech products, destructions notwithstanding. Total 2006 biotech
corn acreage is estimated at 4,000 to 5,000 ha, as compared to 500
ha in 2005. While there are some positive developments, the French
authorities could be more aggressive. The Embassy will continue to
raise our concern that biotech crops be protected. End comment.


Stapleton

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