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.