12 April 2001
Farmers pay more for GM-free feed

By FWi staff

REARING animals on GM-free diets would add at least 7% to the cost of cattle feed, says a report prepared for farmers, supermarkets and the government.

The report, Economics of GM-free policies for feed/meat in the UK, was sponsored by the National Farmers Union, Sainsburys and Ministry of Agriculture.

Guaranteeing GM-free feedstuffs would add at least 5% to the cost of compound feed for pig and poultry and 7% to cattle feed, it claims.

There would also be further costs associated with sourcing relatively small amounts of GM-free soya, it adds.

NFU vice-president Michael Paske said: “Farmers will, of course, produce meat not using GM ingredients if this is what our customer want. But there would be a cost.

“It is important that the food industry and shoppers are aware of these extra costs and that those who want to buy food offering a particular production trail meet these costs.”

Farmers were already operating on the slimmest of margin and must not be the ones forced to pick up the tab, Mr Paske added.

The cost of sourcing GM feed rises significantly the lower the tolerance level required, the report adds.

Sourcing of small-scale shipments of up to 500,000 tonnes of GM-free ingredients is feasible, it says.

But it says GM-free sourcing at reasonable cost will depend on a system with a limited number of operators at each stage of processing and greater integration.

Agricultural Supply Industry e-Business Survey.
Click here to receive your free copy