Time for a re-think on GM crops?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18593639

What would it take to break the impasse on GM crops?

That’s a problem that has been exercising minds at the Agricultural Biotechnology Council, which is urging the government to adopt a strategic plan for agriculture that includes a central role for biotechnology.

Ministers will discuss their proposals, outlined in a new report Going For Growth, at a meeting with industry representatives, scientists and farmers later today.

The report sets out a comprehensive plan for investment in agricultural research its authors hope will put the UK back at the cutting edge of plant science, boost productivity and profitability in the farming sector, and help to resolve global issues of food security.

“Britain has a strong pedigree in agricultural research, including biotechnology,” the report claims. But we’re in danger of being left behind as other countries including China and Brazil encourage investment and surge ahead.

“The sector requires stronger political support to regain its competitive edge, to remove barriers to the commercialisation of research, and to put the UK at the centre of global agricultural innovation.”

Of course agricultural innovation is about much more than just genetic modification, but it’s the inclusion of a substantial section on the potential of biotechnology that’s likely to raise the hackles of anti-GM campaigners.

(…)

2 thoughts on “Time for a re-think on GM crops?

  1. To break the impasse in GM crops would require a dramatic increase in trust. We constantly read about drugs which, after being on the market for a few years, are found to be seriously hazardous. How do we know that the same thing will not occur with GM crops?

    I am not totally against GM crops; they have considerable potential to increase agricultural production, reduce food prices, and reduce malnutrition. But I have little faith in the regulatory processes that are supposed to ensure safety. Also, GM crops sometimes provide only very temporary benefits. For example, “Roundup Ready” crops provide only temporary benefits because weeds become resistant to Roundup then we are back to from where we started before the “Roundup Ready” crops were designed.

    One company which has provided GM seeds has used its resources to extort money from farmers who did not want the GM seeds.

    We need a re-think on how the safety of GM crops is assured and the ethics of the companies that produce them.

  2. “For example, “Roundup Ready” crops provide only temporary benefits because weeds become resistant…”

    It is true, BUT: Weeds can become resistant to every herbicide. This is not a GM specific problem.

    “We constantly read about drugs which, after being on the market for a few years, are found to be seriously hazardous”

    It is also true and what is the best reaction? Shall we ban GM-crops and drugs BEFORE we find any evidence of hazardous effect? And what about mobile-phones or wireless lan? Shall we ban it also? Or shall we ban all the antibiotics.
    In the legal system everybody is innocent before we can prove that his/her is guilty. Science works similar: Theists have to prove that god exists, and not the atheist have to prove the opposite.

Comments are closed.