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'Shallow' GM debate is dangerous for agriculture

The Agricultural Biotechnology Council warned Europe risks ’becoming the museum of world agriculture’



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'Shallow' GM debate is dangerous for agriculture #clubhectare

Europe’s ’prolonged and shallow debate’ around genetically modified (GM) crops is unsustainable and risks imposing a great cost on farms and on the environment, according to a new report by the Agricultural Biotechnology Council.

 

The document, published to mark the 20th anniversary of the commercialisation of GM crops, warned Europe risked ‘becoming the museum of world agriculture’ if new technology continued to be stifled.

 

’Cultivating the Future’, a series of essays authored by leading plant scientists, academics, trade bodies and politicians, highlighted numerous breakthroughs in plant technology and pioneering new approaches to food and farming over the past 20 years.

 

It said researchers were on the verge of a new range of tools developed from advances in genetic knowledge and technology.

 

Political challenge

 

However, with no clear opposition to the technology among consumers, it was political challenges in Europe that were holding farmers back.

 

Dr Helen Ferrier, chief science and regulatory affairs adviser at the NFU and one of the report contributors said: "This collection of essays from expert authors highlights the impact of biotechnology on agriculture over the last 20 years.

 

"In doing so it demonstrates why 21st century farmers and growers see the adoption of innovative practices and new technologies, including biotechnology, as absolutely essential to securing their future in an uncertain world.”

 

The report, which was launched in Parliament today (Wednesday) at an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture, said agricultural production would need to grow at a faster rate over the next 20 years than at any time in history, due to the increasing pressures of rising population and income and the sustainable limits of global natural resources.


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