We can buy it but we cant grow it.

Thats how crazy the European Unions policies on biotech food have become. Regulators let us purchase livestock feed derived from genetically modified crops, but only if its produced abroad. Were forbidden to grow these exact same plants on our own farms.

Cela n'a aucun sens, and Europes illogical hostility to advanced agricultural technology costs us dearly.

En janvier, BASFthe worlds largest chemical company, headquartered in Germanysaid that it would shift its plant-science operations to Raleigh, Caroline du Nord. Thats great news for the people of the United States, who will now gain all of the job-creating benefits that come with economic growth.

Ici, en Europe, pourtant, the move is a tragedy.

The BASF decision is not good for Europe, said Carel du Marchie Sarvaas of EuropaBio. It is the reaction of a quintessentially European company to what is a stifling political and regulatory environment. … Recherche, emplois, and money will go where it is welcomed.

BASF is hardly alone. Just a week after the German company made its big announcement, Monsanto said that it would pull away from the European market and quit trying to sell insect-resistant corn in France.

Until Europe decides to stop turning its back on the future of food production, innovators and entrepreneurs will continue to flee.

The case for biotech crops is clear: They produce better yields, require less water and fewer chemicals, and deliver environmental benefits. I know this from personal experience because Ive been planting and harvesting Bt corn in Portugal since 2006. Its the one kind of biotech crop I can raise hereand I wish I had the freedom to try other varieties, like farmers in the United States, Canada, Brésil, Argentine, and so many other countries.

Puisque 1996, farmers around the world have harvested more than 3 billion acres of biotech crops. L'année dernière, selon le Service international pour l'acquisition des applications d'agro-biotechnologie (Ishaaa), presque 17 million of them participated. The vast majority are smallholders in developing countries.

European farmers accounted for only a tiny fraction of the totalso few as to be irrelevant. Nations such as Burkina Faso, Myanmar, and Uruguay are friendlier to biotechnology than the most advanced countries of Europe.

I wish the European Union would put its full faith in the Declaration for Farmer Choice, a set of principles that recognize the importance of access to sustainable technologies that will help farmers feed the world.

There are occasional signs of common sense. In Brussels last fall, at a meeting convened by the European Commission, I saw new resistance to anti-biotech organizations such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. Their representatives arrived with their worn-out, polarizing statementsand policymakers met them with skepticism. Their unsubstantiated claims may not be taken at face value much longer, especially if farmers, scientifiques, and businesses keep on speaking out about the importance of agricultural biotechnology.

In Britain, a well-known environmental activist, Mark Lynas, recently changed his mind about GM crops. There hasnt been a single GMO-related health issue Im aware of after over a decade of research and testing, he said in an interview with Yale Environment 360. And environmentally GMOs have been beneficial, even in their current limited sense. … In the future we will be looking at nitrogen-efficient, drought-tolerant GMO crops with many other traits, which will minimize land use whilst increasing yield.

These technologies are indeed on the way. Farmers like me want them. In 2011, we planted 60% more Bt corn acres in Portugal than we had the year before. Scientists are developing them. And the world needs them, if were going to accomplish what every demographic expert says must be our goal and double food production by 2050, in order to feed all of the planets people.

Yet if Europeans are to benefit, the EU regulators will have to stop playing politics, ignoring science, and chasing away companies such as BASF. Theyll have to rethink their prejudices, just like Lynas.

They may want to start by letting me grow the crops that go into the feed that I can buy from foreigners.

Maria Gabriela Cruz gère un 500 hectare farm that has been in their family for over 100 years. Growing maize, blé, l'orge et les pois verts, they use no-till or reduced till methods on the full farm. She has grown biotech maize since 2006. Mme. Cruz is President of the Portuguese Association of Conservation Agriculture, a member of the Truth About Trade & La technologie de réseau mondial Farmer et la 2010 Kleckner Trade & Technology Advancement Award recipient. http://www.truthabouttrade.org