The National Beef Association has called for all resistance to
GM crops, at both UK and EU level, to be abandoned immediately
in response to seismic shifts in world demand for food, the growing
danger of global food shortages, and the prospect of declining
domestic animal production.
It says the UK and EU agriculture industries cannot allow
themselves to be held back by backward and protectionist attitudes
to GM technology now that food is no longer either cheap, or abundant,
and wants to see all available agricultural tools being used to
allow production to keep pace with the soaring consumer demand.
“Full use of modern technology is essential if more farmers are to be able
to grow more food crops on the increasingly limited area of agricultural land
that is available,” explained NBA chairman, Duff Burrell.
“Rapid food price inflation is already alarming government and consumers,
and the production of both cereals and meat will reduce at the same time as shop
prices reach toe curling levels unless GM aids become part of UK and EU farming’s
routine tool kit.”
According to the NBA just one GM crop, an insect resistant maize planted on just
110,000 hectares, is authorized for use within the EU while a second crop, a
blight resistant potato has still to complete its production trials.
In contrast huge exporters like the US and Argentina have between them dedicated
almost 80 million hectares GM crops because they expect them to raise yields
by giving protection against insects and disease – and these countries
are now being followed by Brazil and Canada as well as India and China too.
“This means that as Europe becomes more reliant on food imports its consumers
will buy more products that contain an increasing proportion of GM ingredient
and claims made by uninformed GM opponents that they are able to protect consumers
from GM products have already become a joke,” said Mr Burrell.”
“The European Commission must accept that opposition to GM technology lacks
logic and agree that the GM import issue needs an urgent solution because a massive
rise in EU and UK livestock feed prices, and a corresponding reduction in livestock
population, can only be avoided by quickly clearing the backlog of GM importation
“Feed compounders are keen to have access to substitutes for record priced
EU grain and this can only be done if obstacles to import approval for gluten
derived from the new GM maize variety, Herculex, and new varieties of GM soya,
“And the Association has noted that the UK’s former chief scientist,
Professor Sir David King, has estimated that the cost of the UK’s failure
to embrace GM crops has already cost its cereal sector £4 billion in lost
output,” Mr Burrell added.
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