The insidious ‘softly softly’ approach to GM – aka ‘progressive agriculture’

4 Aug

George Freeman MP: unlock the full potential of our agricultural science base

 In the Fresh Produce Journal, MP George Freeman urges that ‘we’ unlock the full potential of our agricultural science base. We urge him to watch Hart’s film recording US experience  of this potential.

Mr Freeman has a personal vested interest in the GM seed industry and biomedicine – see the extracts from his entry in the register of MPs’ interests at the foot of this post. Are the needs of his constituents being met?

A bonanza in huge new markets – cloud cuckoo land?

He asserts that the pace of development in the developing world is creating huge new markets which we are perfectly positioned to service:

“I believe our world-class life sciences sector (biomedicine, clean-tech and agri-science) can help us ‘seed’ the markets and allies the UK will need for a sustainable economic recovery.”

Myth: food insecurity and sustainability can be met by government attracting inward investment from industry

Deprecating the long ‘neglect’ of agriculture ‘in this respect’, he declares that “the challenge of food insecurity and sustainability demands a new strategic response from government”, which should use the resources at its disposal to help get the most out of key sectors by attracting inward investment and working more closely with both industry and global partners.

Economic decline: ‘we’ are being ‘left behind’ by countries who are all ‘developing their research’ – a coded phrase

The MP notes that the far-from-independent Agricultural Biotechnology Council, in their June report Going for Growth, highlighted that we are being left behind by India, China, Brazil and the US, who are all developing their research and reaping the rewards.

In February this year Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council[BBSRC] – based in Mr Freeman’s constituency – announced a £7 million initiative to bring researchers and industry together over sustainable farming practises [sic] that take into account the disruptive effects of climate change and deliver higher yields of better-quality fruit and vegetables. See more on BBSR funding on a sister site.

DEFRA’s proposal: a ‘Leadership Council’ to target funding for agri-food research

He ends by strongly welcoming the government’s consideration of DEFRA’s proposal for a ‘Leadership Council’ to target funding for agri-food research:

“A clear agricultural science strategy would encourage private investment and provide a solid foundation for a new partnership between government, research institutes and growers.”

FREEMAN, George (Mid Norfolk)

1. Directorships
  • 4D Biomedical Ltd, 21 Hill St, Feltwell, Thetford, Norfolk IP26 4AB; biomedical innovation advisory business.
  • Iceni Advisory Ltd (non-executive), University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk R4 7TJ; the Advisory Board of the Iceni Seed Challenge Fund set up to support the commercialisation of new technologies.
  • Elsoms Seeds Ltd, Spalding, Lincs PE11 1QG; agricultural and horticultural seeds business.
  • Biomedical Ltd, September 2009-August 2010. Payment made to 4D Biomedical
  • Ltd.
2. Remunerated employment, office, profession etc
  • I provide strategic support to the Technology Practice of PA Consulting, Cambridge Technology Centre, Melbourn, Royston, Herts SG8 6DP. This company has taken over all client engagement and business development work for 4D Biomedical Ltd
9. Shareholdings
  • 4D Biomedical Ltd
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