Monday, 23 June 2008

Egypt opens doors to GM pest-proof corn crop

Writing for IP-Watch, Wagdy Sawahel ("First Egyptian Approval of Genetically Modified Corn Raises Questions") discusses the recent approval by Egypt of the cultivation and commercialisation in that country of the Ajeeb-YG pest-resistant corn variety, developed by Monsanto. This is said to be the first lawful introduction of genetically modified crops into the Arab world.

The decision was taken following a recommendation by the Egyptian National Biosafety Committee and Seed Registration Committee, following field trials which showed that the infestation of three corn borers was eliminated or reduced to negligible proportions. In this excellent review of the positions taken both by GM's supporters and its detractors, the author adds that the 2002 Egyptian law on the protection of intellectual property rights is TRIPs-compatible and therefore allows for the patenting of GM plant products -- with all the repercussions that this has both for investment and the control of plant varieties.

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