30 March 2000
First GM variety for Seed List

by FWi staff

THE government has unveiled a proposal for the first variety of genetically modified maize to be included on the National Seed List.

The decision was revealed in a MAFF statement despite a recommendation by the Welsh Assemblys agriculture committee that the application be rejected.

National listing is a regulatory hurdle that all new crop varieties must clear before farmers are allowed to grow them on a commercial basis.

The decision to give the go-ahead for the T25 GM maize was made by the four agriculture ministers of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Earlier, the Welsh Assemblys agriculture committee recommended rejection of an application to add the GM maize variety to the national list.

The committees decision was welcomed by the Farmers Union of Wales on the grounds that there are insufficient data to justify the introduction of GM crops.

But agriculture secretary Christine Gwyther, who has several times admitted she has problems with the genetic modification, was persuaded otherwise.