The case for a GM-free Scotland by organic farmer Carey Coombs
GM-free status for Scotland gives the country the opportunity to invest in modern agricultural food systems which deliver environmental and economic efficiency, according to a leading organic farmer from Lanarkshire.
Carey Coombs, who produces organic beef and lamb on his 900-acre hill farm near Biggar, argues that far from being a saviour, GM cultivation will only exacerbate food security issues.
“Global food problems are likely to be severe in future, but the solutions must be driven by the needs of the people who are to consume, whereas GM research at the moment is driven by the need to commercialise and profit,” he states.
Mr Coombs, who has been an organic farmer for 10 years and grows cereals in a bid to make his farm self-sufficient, says he is sympathetic to the economic pressures of those buying in animal feed from the global market, but says that believing a slackening of the GM approvals procedure would help is a red herring.
“If we are serious about feeding ourselves into the future, then we must take a very hard look at livestock farmers’ dependence on imported protein crops. With a rising global population, these importations make absolutely no economic, ethical or environmental sense. It is time we undertook real agri-ecosystem design and management. It might be a lot more successful than GM.”