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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

UK Agri-tech Strategy Must Meet Real Needs, Not Just Serve Industry

Immediate release (22 Jul 2013)

Calls to: Pete Riley 07903 341 065

Commenting on the Government’s Agri-tech Strategy launched today Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:

The success of the Government’s new Agri-Tech Strategy depends on how it meets the real needs of people and the environment. Modern intensive farming systems have failed to produce a balanced diet for everyone but have polluted our air and water, degraded soils and produced huge losses of biodiversity. The strategy needs to improve on this and come up with the best, most sustainable approaches drawing on knowledge-based systems, the application of appropriate technologies and the socio-economic and political reforms needed to get food to hungry people without excessive wastage or food miles.

The new strategy should provide an opportunity for fresh thinking on how to feed people without causing major damage to the planet, including facing up to the need to protect and encourage biodiversity of crops, farm animals and the natural world in which farming happens. Achieving this will require enlightened leadership and rejection of approaches that do not meet the need to draw farmers and consumers into cooperation.

GM crops fail to meet these basic requirements because their existence is based on an attempt to patent and control seeds. This meets the ‘need’ of companies to achieve repeat seed sales, but it does not further the cause of sustainable food production – as is shown by the rapid rise in weeds resistant to the chemicals used on GM crops and the subsequent rise in herbicide use and damage to species like the Monarch butterfly.

Since the strategy lacks any means for farmers or consumers to help guide its progress, GM Freeze is concerned about who is representing these voices and identifying real needs as the strategy moves forward.