The following is a commentary published this week in Nature, on the GMO situation in Europe, focused on potatoes:
BASF is closing its agricultural branch in Europe and choosing instead to focus on the American and Asian markets; meanwhile, BASF's chemical manufacturing facilities in Europe remain intact. This is the latest example of the combination of overly restrictive legislation on genetically modified organisms and a deep political and market mistrust.
Crop cultivars developed by BASF include, but are not limited to, potato varieties with altered starch qualities meant for industrial starch production. In addition, BASF has bred another potato cultivar Fortuna, which shows enhanced resistance to the fungus-like oomycete Phytophthora infestans, which causes potato late blight.
In addition to the economic penalties of turning its back on these new varieties of potatoes, the EU faces several other strategic consequences from BASF's decision to pull up stakes and move on.