In several countries biotech crops already co-exist with conventional crops and organic farming.
The current debate whether or not conventional and biotech agricultural production systems can co-exist should focus on economics. Today, there is an increasing weight of evidence that biotech production systems do not have an unacceptable impact on human health or environmental safety. The pivotal issue is how to provide consumer choice through separation and isolation of both types of production.
The database contains 27 papers and supporting references that have been identified as having information on Co-Existence Benefits of Biotechnology.
Experience in countries where GM crops are grown on a large scale shows that the principle that farmers should be able to cultivate freely the agricultural crops they choose, be it GM, conventional or organic crops, is manageable and sustainable, provided that proper standards for separation, and thresholds for adventitious presence, are in place. This co-existence has been carefully tested and monitored in countries with a wide variety of agricultural practices, such as the USA, Argentina and Spain.
A key requirement for successful implementation of a co-existence system is agreement among the contributors to the food value chain on allowable thresholds for mixing between the different systems. It is possible to define the cost of a co-existence system as a direct function of these thresholds. Costs may also depend on the crop and its reproductive biology.
In the USA, biotech crops have been grown for over 20 years alongside conventional and organic crops without any market disruption. It demonstrates that coexistence of these crop production systems is possible without the need for government intervention.