German insurance industry refuses to cover biotech crops

BERLIN, Germany, July 5, 2004 -- CropChoice news -- AFP: The refusal of German insurers to underwrite insurance for farmers planting biotech seed may have brought Green Biotechnology in Germany to an end. As the newspaper Tagesspiegel reports, seed suppliers are not willing to assume liability for possible damages caused by genetically modified plants either.

A proposal in this direction by the German Farmers’ Association was turned down by Germany’s largest seed supplier KWS Saat. According to opinions in the industry, this means that no German farmer is likely to use genetically modified seed in the foreseeable future.

Fearing unpredictable damages resulting from the contamination of conventional or organic crops by gene plants, the Association of the German Insurance Industry has refused coverage for gene farmers.

As a consequence, the German Farmers’ Association has demanded that suppliers of genetically modified seed assume liability for possible damages and keep farmers free of it. Since cross-contamination cannot be avoided, “we will not run a risk”, says KWS Saat spokesman Georg Folttmann. In light of the stringent liability regulations in Germany “nobody will plant genetically modified plants in Germany”.


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