Europe Must Not Close Doors on Genetic Modification08 January 2014
UK - The longer Europe continues to close its doors to GM, the greater risk that the rest of the world will pass it by.
UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told the Oxford Farming Conference that regulated GM technology presents some of the biggest and “most exciting “ opportunities for agriculture.
He said that the European Academies Science Advisory Council’s recent report highlighted the “compelling evidence that GM crops can contribute to sustainable development goals with benefits to farmers, consumers, the environment and the economy”.
“Later this month we are expecting an EU vote on the licensing of a GM insect-resistant maize for commercial cultivation,” Mr Paterson said.
He added that if approval is given then it will be the first GM food crop authorised for planting by the EU for 15 years.
He said he expected approval to be granted because of the scientific evidence.
“Whether or not this vote heralds a breakthrough in the EU’s regulation of GM crops remains to be seen,” Mr Paterson said.
“Delays and blockages have been politically motivated rather than based on evidence.
“I will continue to make the case for a regime that allows fair market access for products once they have passed Europe’s rigorous, independent scientific assessment.”
He said that if Europe continues to ignore GM, then it risks becoming the “Museum of World Farming”.
He added that innovative companies will start to make decisions to invest and develop new technologies in other markets.