Calls for Scottish GMs ignored

Industry calls to change the Scottish government’s anti-GM crops stance have “fallen on deaf ears”, according to NFU Scotland.

The country’s farming leaders had appealed directly to First Minister Alex Salmond in the latest stage of their campaign to get GM crops back on the SNP administration’s agenda.

But NFUS admitted this week that little progress had been made on the issue, leaving the industry “extremely fed up”.

Union president Jim McLaren met Mr Salmond and environment minister Mike Russell to press for a “sensible and scientifically-based discussion” on the role of biotechnology in agriculture.

But recent pronouncements by government ministers suggested negotiations had proved fruitless.

At Agriscot last week, Mr Russell reiterated his opposition to any change in approach to GMs.

“We are prepared to have the debate, but our policy is crystal clear and doesn’t change,” he said. “We believe GM is a bad idea for Scotland and the precautionary principle must apply.”

NFUS insisted it was not “at war” with the government over the policy, but was very frustrated.

“We are very lucky to have a world-class scientific research base in Scotland,” said Mr McLaren, “and we should make the most of it so that we can decide for ourselves whether these crops and technologies show the way forward.

“This is particularly important in a world where we cannot guarantee a secure supply of food.”

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