The Scottish Government has banned the production of genetically modified (GM) crops in Scotland, a move which the country’s farming leaders say is “disappointing” at a time when other countries are embracing biotechnology.
A Scottish Government spokesman also told Pig World that Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead (pictured above), believed the EU’s current proposals on the use of GM products in food and animal feed products were “far from perfect”.
Mr Lochhead has therefore already written to the Defra Secretary of State to call on the UK Government to work with the Commission and other EU partners to explore how these proposals can be improved.
The Scottish GM crops ban, meanwhile, drew a sharp reaction from NFU Scotland Chief Executive, Scott Walker.
“We are disappointed that the Scottish Government has decided that no GM crops should ever be grown in Scotland,” he said. “Other countries are embracing biotechnology where appropriate and we should be open to doing the same here in Scotland.
“Decisions should be taken on the individual merits of each variety, based on science and determined by whether the variety will deliver overall benefit. These crops could have a role in shaping sustainable agriculture at some point and at the same time protecting the environment which we all cherish in Scotland.
“What we want is an open debate that then allows decisions to be taken from an informed positon reflecting current technology.”
Mr Lochhead’s earlier statement had declared that the ban was designed to “protect Scotland’s clean, green status”.
“There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers,”he said. “I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector.”