The majority of Britain's farmers are opposed to genetically modified crops being grown in the UK, according to a poll carried out to coincide with the launch of the UK's national debate. on GM crops - the supposed beneficiaris of GM crops.
A survey of farmers carried out 12 months ago showed a similar picture At - 60% of respondents said they felt public concern about GM crops was justified.
GM question splits UK growers
By Isabel Davies and David Green
FARMERS are split on whether genetically modified crops should be grown in the UK - and are also worried that they are being ignored when it comes to the national debate on the issue.
More than half of farmers are opposed to genetically modified crops being grown in the UK, according to a poll carried out by FARMERS WEEKLY. The poll was timed to coincide with the launch of the national debate on the technology, called GM Nation, on Tuesday (June 3).
Of the 150 farmers who took part in the survey, 53% said they did not support GM crops. Another 10% said they did not know, while just 36% said they were in favour.
A survey carried out by FW 12 months ago showed a similar picture. At that time 60% of respondents said they felt public concern about GM crops was justified.
Meanwhile, East Anglian farmers have complained that the biggest arable area in the country will not play host to a GM Nation regional meeting. The region has hosted many of the GM field trials and would play a major part in GM food production if the technology was given the commercial go-ahead.
However, none of the six big regional conferences under the GM Nation debate is to be held there. The nearest conference centre will be Birmingham. Rachel Juster, the NFU*s senior policy adviser in East Anglia, said the region was conspicuous by its absence from the conference list. "I don't know how the choice of venues was made but we are a big arable area and there is a lot of interest here."
Malcolm Grant, chairman of the independent steering group running the debate, said he had not had control of selecting the conference venues because this job had been contracted to the government's Central Office of Information. "It is a shame that one of the conferences is not going to be held in the eastern counties but difficult decisions had to be made based on the limited funds available."
Prof Grant said it had been important to hold one of the conferences in each of the "devolved" regions of the UK - Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In areas where a regional debate would not be staged, he was looking to local authorities to organise conferences and would try to help by providing a facilitator where possible.
for the reality of farming with GMOs: http://ngin.tripod.com/farming.htm