January 04, 2013

The change in the image of GM crops?

Happy new year! The Global Miller is interested in a real change in the UK government's approach to GM crops for food safety, security, production and the industry at large. This made the front page of The Daily Telegraph today. The story and accredited source is below.

In a speech to the Oxford Farming Conference, he is expected to say that farmers, policy makers and scientists have a duty to turn around the image of GM.

“We should not be afraid of making the case to the public about the potential benefits of GM beyond the food chain, for example, reducing the use of pesticides and inputs such as diesel,” he said.
“I believe that GM offers great opportunities but I also recognise that we owe a duty to the public to reassure them that it is a safe and beneficial innovation.”

GM maize growing in Shropshire, UK
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is working with the Department of Science and Technology to develop new technologies to boost agricultural production. For example plant breeding and new machinery as well as GM.

 Last year farmers lost £1.3bn from poor harvests and higher feed bills for cattle, making the need for new technology even more urgent.
Mr Paterson pointed out that the UK could produce much more food at home and urged consumers to 'buy British' to boost the sector.
“We currently import 22 per cent of food that could be produced here. We can all do more and, just as everyone got behind Team GB last summer [ed. Olympic and Paralympic Games, London 2012], we must get behind our farmers. By buying British, we can support our producers and enjoy some of the best quality produce in the world.”

Mr Paterson will also talk about the need to control the cattle disease bovine tuberculosis by going ahead with a badger cull this summer.

“The decision to postpone the culls last autumn was a disappointing one but the right one in terms of the effective delivery of the policy. I would like to thank the farmers’ leadership and members for the huge amount of work they put in on the ground and their courageous public stance on this emotive issue. The pilots will go ahead this summer [ed. 2013].”

The conference will also hear from the Woodland Trust about the benefits of planting trees.
The charity commissioned a report that showed trees reduce pollution from fertiliser by absorbing nitrates and phosphates, reduce erosion, prevent floods and droughts and provide a home for wildlife.
The Oxford Real Farming conference, held at the same time as the rival event to raise awareness of organic farming methods, will argue productivity could be boosted by improving the fertility of the soil by crop rotation and ‘mob grazing’.

Pete Riley of GM Freeze pointed out that supermarkets retain a ban on GM ingredients in their own products because the public is against it.

He said the Government would be better to concentrate on sustainable methods that do not cause problems with superweeds and seed control, as well as health fears.

“The message is clear: the public do not want GM. It is the job of Government to look at the issues facing agriculture in a sustainable way.”

[Source: Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent, The Daily Telegraph. Thursday 3rd January 2013 <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9776348/Environment-Secretary-Owen-Paterson-tells-farmers-to-push-GM.html>].

No comments:

Post a Comment