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18 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM strinia nubilalis and Sesamia non- agrioides are two species of insects known as maize borers. These insects belong to the Lepidoptera order and are typ- ically present in the Mediterranean region and cause damage to leaves stems and cobs. Last season the insects affected up to 50 per cent of maize production in some regions. High temperatures and the use of long-cycle varieties provide unique conditions for these insects to reproduce reaching up to two to three generations per year. The GM maize varieties used in the European Union have the CryAB gene from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis Bt incorpo- rated in their DNA which enables the varieties to release an insect repelling protein. This natu- ral insecticide is used in sustainable production systems such as organic farming and not only does it prevent the use of synthetic insecticides it protects crops even when it is impossible to spread the products due to plant height. PRODUCTION DATA GM maize varieties have been grown in Portugal since 2005 under strict measures efficiently controlled by the Ministry of Agriculture on an annual basis. Although there is a decrease in Portugals maize production area the area of GM maize is increasing. In the 2014 season more than six per cent of Portugals maize production was GM representing 8542 hectares. Most GM pro- duction is concentrated in the Ribatejo and the Alentejo regions. GM MAIZE VARIETIES HAVE BEEN GROWN IN PORTUGAL SINCE 2005 AND THE COUNTRYS PRODUCTION AREA IS ON THE RISE. ALTHOUGH STRICTLY MONITORED AND OF CLEAR BENEFIT AS A PEST RESISTANCE TOOL FOR PORTUGUESE FARMERS GM MAIZE PRODUCTION MAY BE THREATENED. BY ANSEME PHOTOSCOURTESYOFVASCOSALGUEIROFROMPIONEERPORTUGAL COEXISTENCE MEASURES Farmers who grow GM maize in Portugal have to fulfill strict coexistence measures which in our opinion offer all Portuguese farmers a true free- dom of choice of the production systems they want to adopt. These measures are established under the Portuguese legislation Decree-Law No. 1602005 from 21 September 2005. The isolation measures are an important tool to prevent cross pollinations and can be achieved by cultivation at minimum distances from neighbouring fields or by differentiated times in drilling. Farmers cultivating GM maize must keep a distance of 200 metres or 24 conventional maize border rows between fields if the neigh- bouring fields are conventional or 300 meters or 28 conventional maize border rows plus an GM MAIZE PRODUCTION PORTUGALS