Mar. 2, 2010
PLANTINGS of GM crops rose by seven per cent last year, as farmers around the world continued to turn to technology to boost crop yields.
According to new figures released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), 14 million farmers in 25 countries are now growing 134 million hectares of GM crops around the world.
Brazil is now the world’s biggest grower of GM crops, with plantings increasing from 5.6 million hectares in 2008 to 21.4 million in 2009.
Julian Little, chairman of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council, said the figures should throw weight behind calls for the UK to take up GM crops.
He said: “To address the current challenge of food security, the solution is clear: we must find ways in which to produce more food at affordable prices while continuing to reduce the environmental impact of farming
"Unfortunately, however, a dysfunctional approvals process in Europe is not only denying UK farmers access to this technology, but it is also preventing companies from investing in developing innovations for UK and Europe.
"If we are serious about allowing UK farmers to produce high quality, affordable food for consumers while safeguarding our natural resources, they must be given the freedom to choose modern, efficient farming methods based on tried and tested science, including the use of GM crops.”
His comments come as Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith prepared to tell farmers at the NFU Conference in Birmingham that technology would be key in combating climate change and addressing food security.
His claims will be seen as a further push from the Government to get GM technology up the national agenda, and bring farmers on side to support the drive.