Speaking at today’s EPA’s ‘GMO Technology Conference’ held in Dublin Castle, IFA National Potato Chairman Thomas Carpenter said there is an onus on EU society to examine how biotechnology can be used to reduce substantially the significant crop yield loss that growers are experiencing, while also addressing environmental concerns.
Mr Carpenter said, “Crop yields for major Irish crops such as potatoes and wheat have plateaued over the last 20 years. Up to 30% of crop yield potential is not being achieved due to pests, diseases, climate and environmental factors etc”.
He said, “Given the burgeoning global demand for food and increasing environmental constraints, coupled with the diminishing armoury of pesticides available to protect crops, the onus is on society to develop and adopt biotech solutions that can deliver environmental benefits and greater resource use efficiencies”.
Thomas Carpenter said while GM use has gained widespread acceptance in the medical, industrial and agricultural spheres, European consumers for the most part remain negative, particularly when it comes to food. EU farmers are currently caught in a bind as they have to compete commercially against imported GM produce while prohibited from growing the same crops.
“Lack of political leadership, along with inconsistent EU policies has further alienated European consumers. Robust independent research coupled with a properly designed education programme is needed to help consumers to understand the benefits that biotechnology can deliver.”