The debate about new breeding techniques (NBTs), and the distinction between genetic modification and gene editing, was raised once again at the Oxford Farming Conference.
Emily Norton, Director of Rural Research at Savills, discusses the implications in a blog on the Savills website.
She comments: “Whether gene editing technology forms part of the fourth agricultural revolution, or is made redundant by it, is a moot point. Without access to it, the UK remains wedded to a version of ‘museum agriculture’, to quote Dr Julian Little of Bayer, and unable to access the productivity improvements achieved in the US, Brazil and Argentina.
“Is there an opportunity to be freed from the GMO straightjacket as we leave the CAP and will we be brave enough to allow consumers to decide?
“For the Devolved Administrations, there may well be a continued marketing advantage in remaining ‘GMO free’. But for producers looking at global commodity markets, smart deregulation by government combined with an enterprising spirit from business will give the public all that is necessary to show their opinion on precision plant breeding with their purses and wallets.”