27 March 2000
Third farmer pulls out of GM trials

By FWi staff

A THIRD farmer has pulled out of the governments farm-scale trials of genetically modified crops.

The farmer, thought to be in the Wetheringsett area of Suffolk, was to have grown GM oilseed rape developed by the biotechnology company Aventis.

His withdrawal follows in the steps of two farmers from Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, who were also due to grow trials of GM crops this year.

The Suffolk site was mired in controversy after the wrong grid reference was given for the location of the field where the GM rape was due to be grown.

Patrick Hitchcock, the farmer to whose land the grid reference mistakenly referred, was forced to publicly state that he was not involved with GM crops.

An Aventis spokesman acknowledged a mistake had been made and said the farmer at the correct location had now decided to withdraw from the trial.

No reason was given for the withdrawal, which comes days after Farmers Weekly revealed that farmers are being offered 10,000 to grow GM crops.

The news means that only 27 out of the 30 GM sites announced by the government 10 days ago are now expected to go ahead.

A maximum of 80 GM trial sites are expected to be grown this year. The government is expected to reveal the remaining locations in the coming weeks.