Farmer’s choice of seeds in four EU countries under different levels of GM crop adoption


Angelika Hilbeck og Rosa Binimelis er to av forfatterne til denne nye artikkelen som er publisert av Environmental Sciences Europe (open access).




It has been hypothesised that farmers in countries that do not adopt GM crops do or will have

fewer seed options. By extension, there is concern that the choices made by countries that

have so far rejected GM crops have had an impact on their productivity. To estimate how

much real world choice maize farmers have in countries with different degrees of GM crop

adoption (Austria, Germany, Spain, Switzerland), we used surveys of seed catalogues from

local and regional seed suppliers, transnational seed corporations and public national and

European seed registration catalogues as an approximation for real world choices available to

farmers. We further compiled and analyzed yield data from the UN Food and Agriculture

Organisation FAO to compare yields over the same period of time in GM-adopting and nonadopting



We found no evidence that restrictions and regulations of GM crops in Europe have

decreased seed choices for farmers in the non-adopting countries Austria, Germany and

Switzerland. In contrast, we observed that in Spain, which has adopted GM maize, the seed

market was more concentrated with fewer differentiated cultivars on offer. In Spain, overall

numbers of maize cultivars declined, with an increasing number of non-GM cultivars being

replaced by GM cultivars. Moreover, there was no detectable yield advantage in GMadopting

countries, even when we extended our analysis to the United States.


In the non-adopting European countries of our analysis, farmers have more maize cultivars

available to them today than they had in the 1990s despite restricting GM-varieties. Along

with the increasing adoption of GM cultivars in Spain, the studied GM-maize adopting

country in Europe, came a decline in farmers’ choices of total numbers of available maize

cultivars, both among desired GM-cultivars and non-GM cultivars.


Genetically modified crops, Transgenic seeds, Seed choice, GM traits, Cultivars, Market


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