Atamanenko pressures government to fight GMO alfalfa
New Democrat Agriculture Critic, Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior), believes stopping Monsanto from registering its GMO alfalfa, already approved by Canada’s Health and Environment agencies, a top priority.
“The government needs to put a moratorium in place immediately while there is still a chance to protect what is a vitally important crop to farmers from genetic contamination.”
Atamanenko says alfalfa is not only important to conventional farming but it is a particularly valuable crop to organic farmers who use it to fix nitrogen and as a soil-building component in their crop rotations. “Farmers have been clear – they don’t want or need Monsanto’s genetic manipulation of one of nature’s most perfect crops.”
According to Atamanenko, Prime Minister Harper has refused to act on his earlier motion calling for a moratorium in Canada as well as his call to urge President Obama to reverse a recent US decision to allow the unrestricted cultivation of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa in the US. “It is only a matter of time before unwanted genes from the US will begin to turn up in Canadian fields and Harper’s refusal to intervene with the US decision is a complete abdication of his responsibility to protect Canadian farmers,” noted Atamanenko.
Atamanenko recently lost the battle to protect Canadian farmers from the loss of their markets as a result GMO contamination when his private members bill C-474 was defeated in the House of Commons. The Liberals and Conservatives subsequently initiated a Committee study on the biotech industry which is currently ongoing.
“I am encouraged to see at least some signs that the Committee is responding to the many impassioned pleas we have heard from number of witnesses to stop the introduction of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa,” concluded Atamenenko. “I will certainly be supporting the committee motion just introduced by Liberal Wayne Easter recommending a moratorium on GMO alfalfa until further research is completed.”