Agriculture and food set to be on COP26 agenda, say Scots

Marc Buckingham
Marc Buckingham

Westminster said the move, which was part of its announcement on plans to capitalize on new Brexit freedoms, would enable more sustainable and efficient agriculture that would help produce healthier and more nutritious food.

Many scientists had considered that the EU’s decision in 2018 to impose the same strict controls on the cultivation of genetically modified crops as those applied to genetically modified crops was too restrictive.

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They claimed that existing genes were simply altered rather than foreign DNA introduced into such organisms – and the result only accelerated the results that could be obtained by normal breeding techniques.

In recent weeks, several reports have been published highlighting the potential of genetically modified crops to contribute to the sustainability of agriculture, providing more resilient and disease resistant crops that require fewer pesticides and less fertilizer – and which would help to solve the problems of climate change.

Commenting on the announcement, NFU Scotland said that while gene editing was just another breeding technique, it provided access to traits that could benefit animal welfare, public health, environment and farmers.

“In the 21st century, a new breeding revolution can help tackle the biggest challenges of our time, the biggest one right now being climate change,” said union agricultural policy manager David Michie.

“There are a lot of things that need to be done to meet the challenges we are currently facing, and GE is a tool that should be removed and used to move towards a net zero future.”

The announcement came as a new survey of UK attitudes to farming issues found 62% of Scots polled agreed that farmers should be able to benefit from innovations that could help them play their full role in tackling the climate crisis, despite the Scottish administration’s resistance to allowing the use of genetically modified crops.

The YouGov survey also found that 70% of people living in Scotland were concerned that Britain depended on imports for almost half of its food supply, with 88% wanting to eat more local produce because of the issues. sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions. grows.

The report commissioned by the Agricultural Biotechnology Council – an umbrella group representing four of the country’s largest agrochemical and breeding technology companies, BASF, Bayer, Corteva and Syngenta – interviewed 2,000 adults across the UK, including 181 of Scotland.

CBA President Mark Buckingham said British farmers have helped the country through some of its most difficult times in recent months, ensuring a secure supply of healthy, good quality and affordable fresh produce.

A total of 84% of Scots also wanted better education on the farm-to-fork food journey and believed that children should learn how food is grown and produced so that they leave school with an understanding of the implications of agriculture for health and sustainability. .

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