Publication details

Czech farmers’ attitudes and risk perception of genetically modified crops



Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Description The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture has been highly controversial for more than past two decades. Agricultural GMOs have been framed by their advocates as a safe means to increase food production sustainably and to react to challenges brought by climate change; whereas those opposed to employing GMOs in agriculture pictured them as a threat to biodiversity, animal and human health, and food sovereignty. Genetically modified (GM) Bt maize MON810 is currently the only GM crop whose cultivation is permitted in the EU. It was first sown in 2003 in Spain, with the majority of European countries never joining in. In the Czech Republic, Bt maize was grown for commercial purposes from 2005 until 2016 continuously. However, the greatest cultivation area, in 2008, did not exceed 3% of the total maize acreage. This paper is part of my doctoral thesis which aims to answer the research question “What is the experience of Czech farmers with Bt maize cultivation?”. First results show that Czech farmers who grew Bt maize in 2015 base their acceptance of GM crops’ cultivation on their experience and some assumptions related to the biotechnology and its effects. Farmers’ argumentation in favour of GMOs notably resembles slogans of GMO advocates. They frame GMOs as a progress and means of sustainable development necessary for feeding the world that is beneficial for the environment. In a follow up, farmers growing maize in the conventional regime of cultivation whose fields neighboured with Bt maize fields will be interviewed. The aim is to compare characteristics of farms and farmers who grew Bt maize with those who did not. Furthermore, qualitative analysis of the interviews should shed some light on how do risk perception and understanding of agricultural GMOs and genetic engineering differ between these groups; and how does GM and non-GM production co-exist.
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