MP calls for rethink on biotechnology policy

MP for Perth and North Perthshire Pete Wishart has called for a re-think on attitudes to and policies on biotechnology.

Wishart - whose constituency includes the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI), which organised the UN Year of the Potato conference in Dundee earlier this month - said the time is right to re-examine the debate surrounding the role that biotechnology research can play in addressing the new international challenges and developing global environment.

He said: "This is the international year of the potato and it is important that the role of the potato is properly understood.

"At the beginning of the 21st century we live in a world that is still subject to regular famines and food insecurity. I believe that we owe it to our fellow citizens to do all we can to address these global problems and use our science and technology to offer solutions."

He added: "In this new global environment I believe that it is time to look again at our attitude to bio-technology. Full consideration must be properly given to research the contribution that this field of science has to offer. We surely owe it to our future generations to look at the scientific study of the potential of these crops."

Wishart's comments were made as Prince Charles, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, warned that the adoption of genetic modification in farming has set the world on course for "the biggest disaster, environmentally, of all time".

The Prince said: "Corporations (are) conducting a gigantic experiment with nature and the whole of humanity, which has gone seriously wrong. Why else are we facing all these challenges (and) climate change?"

He added: "Small farmers ... would be victims of gigantic corporations taking over the mass production of food."


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