Opposition to biotechnology, agrochemicals and genetic modification will threaten the ability to feed an ever-increasing global population, the president of the British Crop Production Council has warned on the opening day of the organisation’s congress.
In his opening address, Hugh Oliver-Bellasis suggested antipathy towards modern technology could lead to “modern starvation”.
“During the past 10 years, consumption has quite often been greater than production; that is most unwise when the world demand grows year on year.”
Without biotechnology, agrochemicals and genetic modification, the ability to produce more would evaporate quickly, he said.
“The solution won’t be easy, but we have to convince policy makers that there is a political issue to be addressed as well as a practical one.”
Political pressure on crop production was increasing, he pointed out.
“Next week, the European Parliament will consider new legislation that will further impede pesticide approvals – by basing them not on real risk but on potential hazards. This could seriously affect European farmers’ day-to-day production. We must protect our ability to defend against pests and disease. If we do not we will legalise modern starvation.”
The congress should aim to set an agenda and an action plan to address politicians and other key influencers, he stressed.