If we started to grow GM crops, the whole of the island(s) would quickly have to be considered a GM zone.
Edward Gallia, Nether Cerne cereal farmer and environmental consultant, commented on Emma Penny’s editorial in the Farmers Guardian on the relaxation of zero-tolerance on unauthorised GM contaminated feed imports:
“She stated: ’(Brazil’s non-GM acreage) accounts for about 25% of its total crop, but in reality, the amount available is far less because of contamination issues which, practically, are almost impossible to deal with’.
“Think about this a little. It shows how ‘co-existence’ of GM and non-GM crops in close proximity is impossible. If co-existence isn’t possible in enormous Brazil, how can it be possible in UK?
If we started to grow GM crops, the whole of the island(s) would quickly have to be considered a GM zone. As an industry we need to tread carefully before accepting and growing GM crops in this country.
I would consider the following minimum safeguards to be put in place:
- Any GM organism approved for the UK should have an in-built technology preventing its spread beyond the field on which it is released and over the first season, some sort of closed pollinating mechanism or terminator gene (so long as this can’t spread across field/farm boundaries).
- GM companies should agree that land can revert to non-GM status after (say) two years of growing solely non-GM crops
- Seed suppliers should allow contracts and sanctions to be vetted by government before being allowed to offer them to farmers.
- Either the companies of the farmers can prove there is a significant human market for the food produced. Maybe there should be pre-sowing contracts to buy the GM produce in the same way as we had them for industrial crops on set-aside?
In short, we must have an element of control over our future, and a future which is market-led not technology driven.”