Scotland has announced its intent to prohibit the growth of genetically modified (GM) crops in favor of preserving the country’s “clean and green” standing, says Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s Rural Affairs secretary. The move to issue a formal ban has been met with open arms by Scotland’s small-scale farmer.
“There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and 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,” Lochhead wrote in an official statement.
Read more after the jump…
“Scottish food and drink is valued at home and abroad for its natural, high quality which often attracts a premium price, and I have heard directly from food and drink producers in other countries that are ditching GM because of a consumer backlash.”
Andrew McCornick, vice-president of The National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS), views the GM crop ban as a move that could usher in less competitive markets, The Scotsman reports.
“There is going to be one side of the Border in England where they may adopt biotechnology, but just across the river, Tweed farmers are not going to be allowed to. How are these farmers going to be capable of competing in the same market?”
The Scottish Crofting Federation, which represents the nation’s small-scale farmers, wrote in an open letter of support for the Scottish government’s decision, “We underline the precautionary principle that the Scottish Government upholds—that the potential risks from GMOs to public health and our environment outweigh any potential benefits of the technology.”
GMO technology has largely been criticized for handing power over the global food system to “a handful of companies dominating the market for seeds and pesticides,” the letter went on to say. In their conclusion, the Scottish Crofting Federation stated Scottish diversity of food, seeds, and plants all contribute to local economies.