24 March 2000
Farmers support GMs, says Monsanto
SUPPORT for genetically modified crops among farmers is stronger than anti-GM campaigners make out, according to the biotechnology giant Monsanto.
A survey carried out by the company claims that 88% of British farmers support the use of biotechnology in farming.
But 62% of respondents said supported biotechnology “with reservations”, which centred mainly on a lack of information about GM crops.
Just over half of the 2000 respondents said they would consider growing a GM crop, a figure that rose to two-thirds when the market was guaranteed.
Only 5% said they “tend to disagree” with the technology and just 1.5% that they “strongly disagree”, said a Monsanto spokesman.
This gives a completely different picture to the one painted by anti-GM groups who claim most farmers are against the technology, he added.
But Monsantos claims were dismissed by Friends of the Earth.
“The real story from the survey is that the majority of farmers have reservations about biotechnology,” said FoE spokesman Frank Pinnycook.
He said the reluctance of farmers to come forward for recent farmscale trials illustrates the doubts about GM technology.
He also attacked the survey finding that 95% of farmers were “aware that some GM crops require significantly less herbicide and/or pesticide”.
Mr Pinnycook said: “They may be aware of that because the biotech companies have told them so – but our research has indicated otherwise.”