THE Government is ‘dangerously deluded’ if it believes genetically modified crops will solve the world’s food security issues, members of the breakaway Oxford Real Farming Conference warned.
Professor John Beddington, the Government’s chief scientist, told the Prime Minister on Wednesday (January 8) that genetic technology would help deliver ‘a new and greener food revolution’ for Britain.
But Colin Tudge, a science writer and organiser of the rival farm conference which took place alongside the Oxford Farming Conference this week, said farmers did not need ‘novel and untried’ technology.
Instead he said the Government must ‘free farmers from the shackles of economic dogma’.
“For decades politicians have starved agriculture of resources on the mistaken notion that the market would deliver a secure food supply.
“As a result tens of thousands of farmers have gone to the wall and Britain has been robbed of the skills it needs to feed the people.
“The Government are desperately pinning their hopes on untried GM technology to save us but scientists who truly understand agriculture know that this can’t solve
our food supply problems.
“Our prime objective must be feeding people, not making profits for large business corporations as now,” he said.
Professor Martin Wolfe, director of the organic research centre at Elm Farm, added there were many unanswered questions about GM crops.
The only realistic way to maximise productivity, he said, was through polycultures– using multiple crops and animals in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems.
“The first priority for research and development should be for ecological agriculture,” he said.