ANALYSIS - They have been commonplace in the US for years but the adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops has always been a somewhat 'scary' prospect for EU growers, writes Gemma Hyland.
New research is hoping to shift that perspective after showing GM crops could benefit farmers, consumers and the animal feed supply chain, while supporting UK competitiveness in the global marketplace.
The work was commissioned by HGCA, the cereals and oilseeds division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), to address key research questions around domestic adoption or non-adoption of GM technologies.
Last year it was decided that EU member states should have the right to restrict, or ban, the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms on their own territory - even if it is allowed at EU level.
The new report finds that GM crop production carries no negative environmental impacts compared to conventional cropping – and may offer environmental advantages.
‘An evidence-based review on the likely economic and environmental impact of genetically modified (GM) cereals and oilseeds for UK agriculture’ examines the best available evidence on overseas experience of GM adoption, pulling together data from more than 170 publications, reports and studies to explore possible scenarios for the UK.
Impacts on the UK feed supply chain
The UK feed supply chain is already using GM products in the manufacture of livestock feed.
While implementation of the infrastructure to support a segregated feed supply chain would result initially in increased costs, stakeholder consultation conducted as part of the review indicates there would be no long term or structural implications.
You can view the full report by clicking here.