Local farmers would
be best advised "not to touch GM crops with a barge-pole" says St Ives MP,
His advice follows the publication at the weekend of
a Downing Street study which shows any economic benefit to the UK is
likely to be limited if GMs are grown here. Mr George wrote to farming
organisations in England before the report was published, urging farmers
to be cautious about GMs because of poor consumer demand and other
He is also urging people in West Cornwall to make their
views known as the Government's GM Nation public debate ends tomorrow
(July 18). A feedback form is available at www.gmnation.org.uk or on 020
Mr George said: "The Downing Street report is only a
surprise in that it does not reach the conclusion that Tony Blair wants,
which is to go full steam ahead with GM crops. It is an open secret in
Westminster that the Prime Minister and his colleagues in DEFRA have
already made up their minds before the public debate even began - I doubt
this report will deter them.
"Farmers would be mad to touch GMs
with a barge pole. Consumers don't want it and the Government has not
sorted out issues of liability. Farmers should also bear in mind that
while the supermarkets have got them over the barrel, the biotech firms
would have them by the throat if they went down this route.
also concerned that it would set farmer against farmer, especially where
growers wish to remain GM free or organic but find that one of their
neighbours wants to grow GMs.
"As far as commercial potential is
concerned the door is pretty much closed and the Government should be
advising growers that it would be a mistake to even consider
He added: "This week is the last opportunity the public will
have to air their concerns and I would advise anyone with an opinion on
GMs, good or bad, to let the Government know what they think while they
still have the chance. Whether the Government will take a blind bit of
notice, we will have to wait and see."
Meanwhile Jane Michell of
Sennen is urging local people to attend this Sunday's (July 20) debate on
the GM controversy being staged at the Hall for Cornwall by Cornwall
County Council. (Tickets from Hall for Cornwall).
"Please come to
the debate if you can. This is an issue which affects us all not just now
but for a very long time in the future," she says. Jane can be contacted
on Pz 871718.