Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Coexistence is defined by the European Coexistence Bureau as: the ability of farmers to choose between the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) and non-GM crops, in compliance with the relevant legislation on labelling rules for GM organisms (GMOs), food and feed and/or purity standards . . . Since only GM crops that have passed a rigorous authorisation procedure can be cultivated in the EU, coexistence measures do not concern environmental or health risks. The issues to be addressed in the context of coexistence are in general the potential economic impacts of the admixture of GM and non-GM crops, the identification of workable technical and organisational measures during cultivation, harvest, on-farm storage and transport to minimise admixture, and the cost of these measures. (ECoB, 2012) In this sense, coexistence of conventional, organic and GM crops can be regarded as (1) an economic issue of (2) preserving the choices of consumer and farmer among different methods of production by (3) controlling agro-ecological dynamics through measures of segregation (4) embedded in a broader regulatory framework of (4a) labeling and (4b) approval for GM crops. The economic problem of coexistence, therefore, consists of at least three framing factors: first, consumers' and farmers' preferences for different production methods; second, the agro-ecological dynamics depending on the biology of the crops concerned and the agro-ecological environment in which they are released; and, third, the broader institutional framework.
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