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Country News - 2004

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Go ahead for GM crops?

Tuesday 09 March 2004

THE GOVERNMENT is today expected to announce that it will be giving the go-ahead for the commercial growing of genetically modified maize – a decision which is already causing an uproar amongst environmentalists even before the official announcement.

The permission is believed to be for only one single strain of maize which, say Government scientists, has been extensively field-tested and has proved to be more beneficial than standard, non-GM maize crops.

They claim that because it will need fewer weed killers to protect it, the new crop would permit the growth of more weeds in a field – and these are important sources of food and shelter for many insects and the birds which feed on them.

Critics, however, are horrified and claim that the field trials were not valid because of the types of weed killer used. They worry, too, that in field trials of other strands of maize, GM modifications have somehow spread to wild plants in the area, with unforeseen results in future years.

Many politicians will also join the attack on Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is already being accused of giving into pressure from powerful American bio-chemical multi-nationals. GM crops – including much of the soya imported into Britain – are already in mass production in the USA.


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