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GMOs in Catalunya, Spain


In spite of the de facto moratoria in other European countries, introduction of GM maize in Spain started in 1998. The available GM varieties have grown from the initial 16 to 61 in 2007. All the current varieties derive from the GM maize event Mon810 modified to be resistant to the corn borer. The rate of farmers adoption and hectares under GM maize cultivation has risen along with this increasing number of registered GM maize varieties, although with a very heterogeneous distribution.

Data from the Ministry of Agriculture, extrapolated from the seed companies sales, report 75,000 ha of GM maize in 2007, 14.5% of the total grain maize area in Spain.

Catalunya is one of the Spanish areas with the highest concentration of GM maize adoption, 42% (in 2006). Maize production and the fabrication of feed and fodder are key agricultural activities, mainly related to the meat industry. The average size of farm lands is small and fragmented (5,45 ha in Catalunya).

The introduction of the GM crops has put the issue of GM and non-GM crops coexistence on the table. Up to four preliminary documents on the implementation of coexistence have been released by the Spanish administrations since 2004. However, they have been highly contested by agrarian and environmental organizations. No agreement has been reached so far. Instead, some guidelines on good practices for cultivating GM maize have been promoted by the seed producers association.

Besides, from 2003 there have been made public several cases of GM contamination in animal feed and GM crops.

For many years, a myriad of social agents, including farmers, consumers and environmental groups have been opposing the introduction of GM crops in Catalunya, especially during the period 2003-2008.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:GMOs in Catalunya, Spain
State or province:Lleida, Girona and Tarragona
Location of conflict:Algerri, Mollerussa, Balaguer, Gimenells... (many towns around the province)
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Specific commodities:Genetically Modified Seeds
Gm Maize Mon810

Project Details and Actors

Project details

More than 100 varieties derive from the event MON810 (Monsanto) but are sold by other seed companies.

Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:8,000,000
Start of the conflict:1998
Company names or state enterprises:Pioneer - The farmers who plant GMOs are individual people, but the company which sells most of thier seeds is Pioneer which belongs to Dupont.
Dupont from United States of America
Monsanto Corporation (Monsanto Co) from United States of America
Relevant government actors:Catalan Regional government, Departament dAgricultura, Ramaderia, Pesca, Alimentació i Medi Natural, Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente, Consell Català de la Producció Agrària Ecològica
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Plataforma Transgènics Fora!, Som el que Sembrem, Escola Agrària de Manresa, Naturalistes de Girona, Greenpeace, Amigos de la Tierra, Ecologistes en Acció, Veterinaris sense fronteres, Enginyers sense fronteres

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
People from organic consumer cooperatives
Students of organic farming
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Boycotts of companies-products
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Street protest/marches
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Arguments for the rights of mother nature

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Genetic contamination
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
New legislation
Development of alternatives:Ban GMOs.
Ban Patents on life.
Promote small-scall fair organic farming and promote organic consumption schemes.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The surface of GM maize is equal or increasing. Many of the groups opposing are not active any more.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

de organismos modificados genéticamente:

DIRECTIVA 2001/18/CE sobre liberación intencional en el medio ambiente de organismos modificados genéticamente (OMGs)

1829/2003 del Parlamento Europeo y del Consejo de 22 de septiembre de 2003, sobre alimentos y piensos modificados genéticamente

LEY 9/2003, de 25 de abril, por la que se

establece el régimen jurídico de la utilización

confinada, liberación voluntaria y comercia-

lización de organismos modificados genética-

REAL DECRETO 178/2004, de 30 de enero,

por el que se aprueba el Reglamento general

para el desarrollo y ejecución de la

Ley 9/2003, de 25 de abril, por la que se esta-

blece el régimen jurídico de la utilización con-

finada, liberación voluntaria y comercialización


1830/2003 del Parlamento europeo y del Consejo de 22 de septiembre de 2003, relativo a la trazabilidad y al etiquetado de OMGs y a la trazabilidad de los alimentos y piensos producidos a partir de estos, y por el que se modifica la Directiva 2001/18/CEVentana nueva.

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Binimelis, R. (2008) Coexistance of crops, coexistance of farmers? in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics:

Documentary: Tranxgenia: la història del cuc i el panís:

Report by Assemblea Pagesa, Plataforma Transgenics Fora! & Greenpeace. La imposible coexistencia (2005)

Report by Greenpeace. La coexistencia sigue siendo imposible:

Magazine: El pimiento Verde transgénico:

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Campaign Supermercats no gràcies:

Ecologistas en acción: Legislation on GMOs:

Som lo que sembrem:

Assemblea per la sobirania alimentària de Catalunya:

Plataforma transgenics fora website: and

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Map of experimental GM fields in Spain (2012-2013):

Meta information

Contributor:Amaranta Herrero
Last update16/08/2016