In February of 2014 Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev created a national research project that would determine if the Russian government would allow GMO’s into their country. Shortly later that year, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dorkovich announced their decision:
“As far as genetically-modified organisms are concerned, we have made the decision not to use any GMO in food productions.”
Now joining the long list of anti-GMO countries who have also banned the products due to scientifically proven dangers, Russia has noticed a significant shift in their domestic agriculture. Initially, they began to implement the new stance on GMO by setting tough labeling laws. In late 2014 after announcing its bans on import from the EU and several other countries, Russia shifted its focus to growing their own food and becoming a self-sustaining country. Now, Putin has stated that the country intends to become the world’s biggest exporter of non-GMO food.
“We are not only able to feed ourselves taking into account our lands, water resources – Russia is able to become the largest world supplier of healthy, ecologically clean and high-quality food which the Western producers have long lost, especially given the fact that demand for such products in the world market is steadily growing” – Putin
While this is certainly a big statement to make, it is evidently likely to occur considering Russia’s current environmental situation. Russia has some of the world’s richest soil due to Cold War restraints that had restricted chemical treatment of the lands. Thus, the soil has not been subjected to decades of chemical fertilizers or crop sprayings like many other European and North American countries have. This gives them a unique advantage to produce and export a considerable amount of non-GMO product, in a significantly short amount of time. Putin has stated that Russia plans to supply the domestic market with home-grown food by 2020.
Giant agribusinesses such as Monsanto still dominate western markets as 80% of all US corn is GMO as well as almost 100% of all soybeans. Many of these products are still able to loophole their way into the hands of consumers in the European Union as well as China, without a label. It will be fascinating to see how Russia’s push for cleaner food will have an impact on these GMO trends, especially as the country gains momentum and can prove to be dependable for clean food sources.
This is a significant step forward for non-GMO awareness. As of now, over 60 countries worldwide have also banned production of GMO products as scientific evidence continues to support and confirm the potential dangers. If trends like this continue, we may just find ourselves in the world where real fruits and vegetables rule the dinner table, and genetically modified “food” is a thing of the past.