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POLICY & REGULATION: UK biotech scientists welcome pro GM report of House of Lords





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TITLE:   SCIENTISTS WELCOME PRO GM REPORT

SOURCE:  Farmers Guardian, UK

AUTHOR:  Olivia Midgley

URL:     http://www.farmersguardian.com/home/latest-news/scientists-welcome-pro-gm-report/40117.article

DATE:    07.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Scientists from the Agricultural Biotechnology Council agreed with the report which called for the benefits and risks of technologies such as GM to be ?clearly articulated, recognising that too precautionary an approach may pose risks to global food security?. Chairman of abc Dr Julian Little said: ?I am pleased the report recognises that agricultural biotechnology should be one of the tools available to farmers to improve productivity, and to reduce the carbon footprint and the environmental impact of farming. abc does not believe GM technology constitutes a ?silver bullet?, but it is one of many innovative solutions required for European agriculture to meet the demands placed upon it."

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SCIENTISTS WELCOME PRO GM REPORT

GM experts have welcomed today?s (Thursday, July 7) report from the House of Lords on innovation in EU agriculture.

Scientists from the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (abc) agreed with the report which called for the benefits and risks of technologies such as GM to be ?clearly articulated, recognising that too precautionary an approach may pose risks to global food security?.

Chairman of abc Dr Julian Little said: ?I am pleased the report recognises that agricultural biotechnology should be one of the tools available to farmers to improve productivity, and to reduce the carbon footprint and the environmental impact of farming. abc does not believe GM technology constitutes a ?silver bullet?, but it is one of many innovative solutions required for European agriculture to meet the demands placed upon it.

?But now is the time for action; the UK has the scientific infrastructure to move forward, and the industry is committed to bringing solutions for farmers to help them face up to the food insecurity issues that we are going to have to deal with. A clear lead is now required from the Government as to how ?sustainable intensification? of food production is to be achieved.?

Carel du Marchie Sarvaas of EuropaBio, the European association for bioindustries, said the report highlighted that agricultural innovation must also be supported by robust EU policies.

He added: ?New technologies to increase the productivity of Europe?s land are essential, yet approvals and field trials for GM crops continue to be slowed by politics.

?It is disappointing to see Europe become a science museum rather than a global economic motor driven by innovation. However, this does not have to be our future if policymakers make the right decisions now.?

The report is the result of a year-long inquiry by a House of Lords European Union Committee looking at how innovation in EU agriculture can be encouraged in the context of new challenges such as climate change, water scarcity and the need to encourage sustainable yield increases.

Some of the key recommendations of the report:

- Politicians and society should not be afraid of new, properly tested agricultural technologies such as GM, recognising that an overly cautious approach may pose risks to global food security

- It is critical for reasons of productivity, sustainability and competitiveness that appropriate technologies such as GM crops can be adopted swiftly after proper testing

- The European Commission and Member States should facilitate a better understanding of the socio-economic implications of GM crops