Landowners such as municipalities, towns and districts can forbid the use of genetically modified plants on their farmland. By adding a passage in the lease contract which prohibits the use of GMOs, they can legally oblige farmers to exclude GMOs on publicly-owned land.
In 1999, Munich was the first town that excluded GM plants from their properties. By now, more than 350 municipalities have followed this example.
The main arguments for GMO-free municipalities are:
- GM plants reduce land value.
- GM plants are against the will of farmers and consumers.
By prohibiting GMOs on their land the municipalities stand in for a regional and traditional agriculture. Farmers often follow GMO-free municipalities by founding GMO-free regions and vice-versa.
Overview: GMO-free municipalities in Germany (PDF)