A new report highlights the importance of GM crops for meeting the challenge of the world’s growing population.
The report by the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC) says that Europe risks “becoming the museum of world agriculture” if new technology continues to be stifled.
‘Cultivating the Future’, a series of essays authored by plant scientists, academics, trade bodies and politicians, analyses numerous breakthroughs in plant technology and pioneering new approaches to food and farming over the past 20 years, and says we are on the verge of a new range of tools developed from advances in genetic knowledge and technology.
But the report concludes that the “prolonged and shallow debate” around GM crops in the last two decades is “unsustainable”, and risks imposing a “great cost” on farms and on the environment. With consumers predicted to demand 70% more food by 2050, the authors warn that there is no time to waste.
The report, which launches in Parliament today at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science & Technology in Agriculture, finds that agricultural production will need to grow at a faster rate over the next 20 years than at any time in history, due to the increasing pressures of rising population and income and the sustainable limits of global natural resources.
Speaking at the launch, Mark Buckingham, abc chairman, said: “The contributors to this collection have demonstrated not only the benefits of GM crops and the great potential of new innovations, but also the political challenges faced in Europe which has led to the stifling of the technology in terms of cultivation in this region.”
“Significantly, expert contributions from the NFU and the FDF have also highlighted how there is no clear opposition to the technology among consumers and that British farmers see adoption of new innovations as essential to securing their future. I would like to thank all contributors to the report for their expert insight.”
Dr Helen Ferrier, chief science and regulatory affairs adviser at NFU, and one of the contributors to the report, added: “This collection of essays from expert authors highlights the impact of biotechnology on agriculture over the last 20 years. In doing so it demonstrates why 21st century farmers and growers see the adoption of innovative practices and new technologies, including biotechnology, as absolutely essential to securing their future in an uncertain world.”