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GMOs law in agriculture and husbandry, Serbia


Description

The Law on Genetically Modified Organisms from 2009 forbids growing, trade and transport of GMOs in Serbia.

However, in 2011, the changes of the Law that would liberalize the trade of GMOs were suggested as one of the requirements of admission to the EU and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Since then, various citizen groups and NGOs, supported by green party, some parliamentary deputies, Serbian scientists, experts and celebrities organized protest, street marches, and signing petitions against modification of the Law. The activists suggested introducing a 20 years moratorium on GMOs, while the experts proposed holding a national referendum to decide on the issue.

During 2012 and 2013, 111 out of 198 municipal governments in Serbia banned growing and trade of GMOs in their territories. Despite this, many farmers around Serbia are planting GMO soybean due to its lower costs of production. According to the Law, these fields should be destroyed and owners penalized. Farmers, however, have asked the government to either subsidies the non-GMO agricultural production, or change the Law so they could legally produce GMO crops. The experts also state that GMO corn and soybean, as well as meat from chicken, beef and pork fed with these crops, have been illegally imported to Serbia, and as such are not properly labelled as GMO products. The country does not count with a national laboratory for food inspection, despite of the several million of euros invested in this problem over the years.

After the big floods in Serbia in May 2014, Monsanto donated corn seed worth of 375,000 USD to the farmers in affected areas. In a response to the accusations in the media, the company and the Serbian government claimed the seeds were conventional and non-genetically modified. This was followed with another scandal in June 2014, when the media reported that McDonald’s burgers contained meat of chicken fed with GMO crops. The Law modifications is high in the agenda of Serbian parliament, particularly as Serbia is about to open Chapter 30 of the EU accession negotiations - concerning foreign economic relations. The Ministry of agriculture and environmental protection claims that Serbia will not allow production of GMO soya on its territory, due to the economic benefits of exporting non-GMO soya to the EU.  In May 2015, Serbian government allowed use of "Danube Soya” label for GMO-free animal products in order to protect the consumers in Serbia. The government, however, have not convinced the representatives of academia who think the law has been already changed and just waiting to be approved without consultation with civil society and professionals. 

Basic Data

NameGMOs law in agriculture and husbandry, Serbia
CountrySerbia
SiteBelgrade
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)GMOs
Specific CommoditiesGMOs
Corn/Maize
Soybeans
Meat

Project Details and Actors

Project Area (in hectares)3,800,000
Level of Investment (in USD)80,000,000
Type of PopulationUnknown
Potential Affected Population7,000,000
Start Date2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesMonsanto Corporation (Monsanto Co) from United States of America - Provision of corn seeds to flood-affected farmers
McDonalds from United States of America - Use of meat of chicken fed with GMO crops
Relevant government actorsThe Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection; Government of the Republic of Serbia; National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia; Municipal goverments
International and Financial InstitutionsWorld Trade Organisation (WTO) - Demand modification of the GMO in order to let Serbia access the EU
European Union (EU) - Demand modification of the GMO in order to let Serbia access the EU
Danube Soya - "Danube Soya" label for GMO-free animal products have been used in Serbia since May 2015
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersEkoloski pokret Novog Sada: http://www.ekopokret.org.rs/o-nama; Ekoloski pokret Srbije; Srbija bez GMO: http://srbijabezgmo.wordpress.com/; Zdrava zemlja: http://zdravazemlja.webs.com/; Zeleni Srbije: http://zelenisrbije.org/; Serbia Organica; Organic Control System; CEKOR; Terras; Asocijacija poljoprivrednika Srbije; Zelena mreza Vojvodine; Natura balkanika; Centar Dunav soja; Celebrities: Emir Kusturica.

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Beekeepers
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Genetic contamination
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures

Outcome

Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseThe conflict is ongoing. There were no changes in the positions of involved actors.
Development of AlternativesThe activists opted for 20 years moratorium on GMOs. The experts suggested holding a national referendum to decide on the issue, as well as consulting the professionals on changing the Law. In addition, the academia representatives support establishment of Association of Municipalities and Cities signatories of the declaration "Serbia without GMO" and their joining to the European GMO-free Network.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The Law on Genetically Modified Organisms from the 2009 is still in force. However, the Law modification proposal is high in the parliament’s agenda as Serbia is on its way to access the EU. Additionally, there was no answer to the proposals made by the opponents. On the positive side is that the Serbian government has recognised economic benefits of exporting non-GMO soya to the EU.

Sources and Materials

Legislations

The Law on GMOs- Zakon o geneticki modifikovanim organizmima "Sl. glasnik RS", br. 41/2009."
http://www.paragraf.rs/propisi/zakon_o_geneticki_modifikovanim_organizmima.html

Links

GMO polemics in Serbia
http://www.euractiv.rs/vesti/6559-gmo-polemics-in-serbia

Serbia to scrap genetically modified food ban
http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/serbia-to-scrap-genetically-modified-food-ban

Serbian WTO membership declined due to GMO
http://www.balkaneu.com/serbian-wto-membership-declined-due-gmo/

Stop GMO u Srbiji
http://srbijabezgmo.wordpress.com/?blogsub=confirming#blog_subscription-2

Pištaljka: Mekdonalds prodaje GMO piletinu
http://www.rtv.rs/sr_lat/drustvo/pistaljka-mekdonalds-prodaje-gmo-piletinu_495462.html

Primese o GMO u hrani moraju da se obeleze
http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Ekonomija/474317/Primese-GMO--u-hrani-moraju-da-se---oznace

GMO se masovno uvozi
http://www.danas.rs/danasrs/ekonomija/gmo_se_masovno_uvozi.4.html?news_id=283721

Oprez: Modificirana soja na poljima i trpezi
http://balkans.aljazeera.net/vijesti/oprez-modificirana-soja-na-poljima-i-trpezi

Uzgoj GMO u Srbiji uprkos zabrani
http://balkans.aljazeera.net/vijesti/uprkos-zabrani-u-srbiji-uzgoj-gmo-soje

Modifikovana soja caruje Vojvodinom
http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/naslovna/ekonomija/aktuelno.239.html:506341-Modifikovana-soja-caruje-Vojvodinom

New Law on GMO is prohibiting trade or commercial growing of GMO
http://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/New%20Law%20on%20GMO%20is%20prohibiting%20trade%20or%20commercial%20growing%20of%20GMO%20_Belgrade_Serbia_6-10-2009.pdf

Uvaljuju nam GMO: Monsanto donirao seme poplavljenim podrucjima!
http://www.telegraf.rs/vesti/1120121-uvaljuju-nam-gmo-monsanto-donirao-seme-poplavljenim-podrucjima

Zabranjena GMO soja na mačvanskim njivama
http://sabac.info/m/vesti.php?id=874

Do tri miliona dinara kazne za gajenje GMO hrane
http://www.politika.rs/rubrike/Tema-nedelje/Ko-pobedjuje--ljudi-ili-bakterije/Do-tri-miliona-dinarakazne-za-gajenje-GMO-hrane.lt.html

Stop GMO protest in Belgrade in December 2013
http://www.serbiaorganica.info/srbija-odlucno-rekla-ne-gmo-hrani/

Održani skupovi na temu ‘Zaustavimo GMO u Srbiji’
http://www.serbiaorganica.info/odrzani-skupovi-na-temu-zaustavimo-gmo-u-srbiji/

"Zbog GMO ćemo gubiti milijarde"
http://www.b92.net/biz/vesti/srbija.php?yyyy=2013&mm=10&dd=13&nav_id=764759

Srbija pred ultimatumom
http://www.telegraf.rs/vesti/1280109-srbija-pred-ultimatumom-od-sledece-godine-moracemo-da-uvozimo-gmo-hranu

Skrining završen, još zakon o GMO
http://www.b92.net/biz/vesti/srbija.php?yyyy=2014&mm=10&dd=24&nav_id=915632

MONSANTO HELPS SERBIA AND BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA AFTER WORST FLOODING IN MORE THAN A CENTURY
http://monsantoblog.eu/monsanto-helps-serbia-croatia-and-bosnia-after-worst-flooding-in-more-than-a-century/

Srbija je jedina zemlja koja proizvodi "non GMO" soju
http://www.naslovi.net/2015-09-28/blic/golubovic-srbija-je-jedina-zemlja-koja-proizvodi-non-gmo-soju/16526165

Ostanimo zemlja bez GMO
http://www.politika.rs/scc/clanak/328584/Ostanimo-zemlja-bez-GMO

GMO news related to Serbia
http://www.gmo-free-regions.org/gmo-free-regions/serbia/gmo-news-related-to-serbia.html

Media Links

Uzgoj GMO u Srbiji uprkos zabrani
http://balkans.aljazeera.net/vijesti/uprkos-zabrani-u-srbiji-uzgoj-gmo-soje

Srbija se priprema za dozvolu prometa GMO
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfaPo-bSlb4

Srbija seje GMO soju iz nuzde
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mE91yLxKamk

RTS Emisija OKO
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14-jdfcN1ZY

Stop GMO protest in Belgrade in December 2013
http://www.serbiaorganica.info/srbija-odlucno-rekla-ne-gmo-hrani/

Ekoprotest 2013
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKb6dXhkZZQ

GMO, 27. OKTOBAR 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4k9G0uDVqk

Other Documents

Protest against GMO Details from the protest in front of the national assembly in Belgrade, December 2013
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/protest_1.jpg

"The people have the power"-“Građani imaju moć” Citizens protesting against GMO, Belgrade, May 2013
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/GMO-Beograd1.jpg

Meta Information

ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com
Last update11/04/2016

Images

 

Protest against GMO

Details from the protest in front of the national assembly in Belgrade, December 2013

"The people have the power"-“Građani imaju moć”

Citizens protesting against GMO, Belgrade, May 2013