Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Fieldays: Britain to push EU to relax GM stance

Britain looks set to urge Europe to relax rules to allow GM crops to be grown for human consumption, a UK national newspaper has revealed.

The Independent newspaper said DEFRA Secretary of State Owen Paterson will use a speech next week to push for a relaxation of the regulations concerning GM crops.

The revelation comes in the same week as non-GM New Zealand focuses at Fieldays on doubling primary industry exports by 2025 through conventional production and value added gains.

The research conducted by UK Farmers Weekly suggested some 61% of British farmers would grow GM crops if it were legal to do so. More than 600 growers across the UK took part.

The results revealed that GM technology remains a polarising issue for the farming industry. But on the back of over 12 months of challenging weather impacting both last year's and this year's northern harvests, farmers views have changed significantly, 32% saying their attitude towards GM crops had become more positive in the past year.

While there remained significant concerns about GM cropping, with farmers saying it had over-promised and under-delivered, the findings of the survey have given pro-GM Paterson plenty of ammunition with which to bully his European counterparts.

The Independent said ministers were hopeful of building support in Brussels for a change of heart on GM. Germany was seen as a key swing voter but there was likely to be opposition from countries such as Poland which in April became the eighth EU member state to ban the cultivation of GM crops.

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