19 December 1997

UK tops the league for explaining technology

UK advisers are leading the way in explaining GM technology to farmers and lobby groups, with significant developments planned for 1998.

During 1997 the five UK FACTT sites were used to demonstrate GM technology to the media, a supermarket, the Institute of Grocery Distribution and over 700 general visitors, explained project leader Paul Meakin of the HGCA.

"That is helpful, but it is only a drop in the ocean," he noted. For 1998 the effort will be stepped up, with an anticipated audience of 13,000 at Cereals 98 as a key target. "We will have a multi-crop demonstration, with GM sugar beet, maize and oilseed rape and a FACTT forum in the evening."

Negotiations are also under way for the NFU to use the demonstration sites through local meetings.

UK growers and the public will also have the chance to see a GM oilseed rape crop with a modified oil profile for the first time. The Calgene variety produces high lauric acid, which could provide a UK-grown oil to compete with imported palm oil.