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Farmers scared off GM crop trials

08 February 1999
‘Farmers scared off GM crop trials’

FARMERS are unwilling to take part in government-backed trials of genetically modified crops because they fear attack by environmental activists, claims biotech giant Novartis …more…
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Farmers scared off GM crop trials

08 February 1999
‘Farmers scared off GM crop trials’

FARMERS are unwilling to take part in government-backed trials of genetically modified (GM) crops because they fear attack by environmental activists, claims biotech giant and GM crop developer Novartis.

The agrochemical concern says farmers have become wary of participation in the ecological trials because of the threat that the test sites will be destroyed by groups like Genetix Snowball, a protest group that has destroyed crops at several sites so far.

English Nature, the governments special adviser on environmental issues, said it was very important that the trials go ahead because, under European Union rules, the government needs supporting evidence if it is to ban a GM organism without fear of reprisal.

But English Nature remains critical of the governments attitude towards getting results from the trial, which will monitor the ecological effects of growing herbicide resistant crops.

The government has said it wants to see the results before deciding whether to commercialise the products. English Nature believes that the trial will not yield any useful results before the first GM crop is commercialised, which is due to happen in a years time.

English Nature says the results of the research will not be known for four years.

The governments Scientific Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment reported in a paper published last week that the risks that crops would be invasive or would confer herbicide tolerance on weeds was very small.

  • Financial Times 08/02/99 page 11
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Farmers scared off GM crop trials

08 February 1999
‘Farmers scared off GM crop trials’

FARMERS are unwilling to take part in government-backed trials of genetically modified (GM) crops because they fear attack by environmental activists, claims Novartis, a developer of GM sugar beet.

The agrochemical concern says farmers have become wary of participation in the ecological trials because of the threat that the test sites will be destroyed by groups like Genetix Snowball, a protest group that has destroyed crops at several sites so far.

English Nature, the governments special adviser on environmental issues, said it was very important that the trials go ahead because, under European Union rules, the government needs supporting evidence if it is to ban a GM organism without fear of reprisal.

But English Nature remains critical of the governments attitude towards getting results from the trial, which will monitor the ecological effects of growing herbicide resistant crops.

The government has said it wants to see the results before deciding whether to commercialise the products. English Nature believes that the trial will not yield any useful results before the first GM crop is commercialised, which is due to happen in a years time.

English Nature says the results of the research will not be known for four years.

The governments Scientific Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment reported in a paper published last week that the risks that crops would be invasive or would confer herbicide tolerance on weeds was very small.

  • Financial Times 08/02/99 page 11
    Read more on:
  • News
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