Scotland is to ban the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) produce, the country’s rural ministry has announced. Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said he was not prepared to “gamble” with the future of Scotland’s £14bn food and drink sector. The Scottish government intends to take advantage of new EU rules allowing member states to decide whether or not they want to grow GM crops.
But farmers say the ban will hurt the competitiveness of their produce.
“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 £14bn food and drink sector,” said Lochhead.
But Andrew McCornick, vice president of the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), said the move would hurt farmers and make their products less competitive. NFUS president Allan Bowie added: “It is very disappointing. The hope was to have open discussion and allow science to show the pros and cons for all of us to understand either the potential benefits or potential downsides.
“What we have now is that our competitors will get any benefits and we have to try and compete. It is rather naive.”
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