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Stackyard News Apr 08

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    GM Crops Must Become Part of Cereals Sector Tool Kit

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.


cereal crop

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 approvals.”

“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, are removed.”

“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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