10 June 1999
GMs to boost land values, claims biotech industry

By FWi staff

THE biotechnology industry has disputed claims that genetically modified (GM) crops reduce land values, maintaining instead that land prices will actually rise.

A survey by the Royal Institute of Surveyors released this morning found that 64% of its rural members believe growing GM crops will make their land harder to sell.

Nearly 58% thought growing GM crops would adversely affect land values, while 43% thought it would impact on the value of neighbouring land.

But the findings of the survey were this afternoon disputed by the pro-GM Supply Chain Initiative on Modified Agricultural Crops (SCIMAC).

SCIMAC is a group of industry organisations representing the biotechnology companies behind GM crops, farmers the seed trade and plant breeders.

A statement from SCIMAC said the organisation saw no basis for the suggestion that growing GM crops could have a negative impact on land values.

GM crops have been widely grown in the USA and Canada for the past three years and have not prompted a reduction in land prices, said the statement.

On the contrary, there is every reason to indicate that the agronomic benefits on offer from GM crops argue in favour of increasing the sustainable productive capacity of farmland and raising, not lowering, land values.

SCIMAC said land values were likely to rise on land where GM crops are grown because of reduced tillage cultivation, fewer herbicides and improved weed control.