Wales will follow in the footsteps of Scotland, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands and Poland in making use of new opt-out rules to stop GM crop cultivation, even if varieties have been approved by the EU.
Wales’ deputy minister for farming and food, Rebecca Evans, said the new rules would help Wales maintain its ‘cautionary approach’ to GM technology.
She said: “It will allow us to protect the significant investment we have made in our organic sector and safeguard the agricultural land in Wales that is managed under voluntary agri-environment schemes.”
The Minister has asked the EU to exclude Wales from the European consent of a GM maize variety already approved and seven other GM crops currently awaiting authorisation.
“Farming and food processing businesses remain the driving force of our rural economy,” added Ms Evans.
“Our emphasis is on competing on quality, strong branding and adding value through local processing. We, therefore, need to preserve consumer confidence and maintain our focus on a clean, green, natural environment.
“By having the ability to control what is grown in Wales we can have confidence in preserving these values.”
Ms Evans said the crops had not been developed for Welsh growing conditions and ‘would be of no real benefit to Welsh farmers at this time’.
She said the Welsh Government would keep its position under review.