The Welsh Assembly government must be more open to GM technology if Welsh farmers are to remain competitive on a European and world stage, Harper Adams principal, Wynn Jones has said.

Speaking at the opening day of the Royal Welsh show, Prof Jones said the stand by the Assembly government to keep Wales GM-free only fed prejudice against such technology.

Livestock farmers in particular could not afford to miss out on GM technology, as the availability of non-GM protein feed was set to become a bigger challenge in the future, he said.

“The increasing use of GM crops worldwide and the availability of GM feed will make it very difficult for any country to remain competitive without adopting GM technology.

“If we ignore biotechnology, it can only be seriously to our disadvantage. People aren’t clear what GM actually means, so we must educate the public and have an informed, science-based, debate about the role of biosciences within the agri-food industry.”

NFU’s Meurig Raymond agreed. “It makes me cross when they say Wales should be GM-free. If we’re not allowed to import GM soya, it will destroy our livestock industry.”