East Anglian farmers risk being left behind in the global race to maximise food production and feed a burgeoning population.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

That is one of the key messages emerging from today’s Norfolk Farming Conference, being held at the John Innes Centre in Colney.

Almost 400 delegates heard from a line-up of international experts, covering topics ranging from EU policy reforms, energy crops and climate change.

They also heard how precision farming techniques and the use of genetically-modified (GM) crops - still prevented from being grown in the UK - have rapidly increased yields and profitability in places like the USA and Argentina.

Keynote speaker, Scottish MEP George Lyon, described a “perfect storm” created by a predicted doubling of food demand by 2050, exacerbated by constraints on land and water availability.

Mr Lyon has been closely involved in the negotiations over reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

He said the European Commission needed to recognise the importance of new technologies and efficiencies in meeting future food demand.

He said: “On the big issue of sustainable intensification, the commission has been silent. Their absolute focus is on biodiversity.

“Biotech is the great unmentionable, yet the rest of the world is powering on.”

Adam Quinney, Vice President of the National Farmers Union, added: “There is still a general lack of acceptance on this technology across the EU, which continues to present a barrier to progress.”

For more coverage of the Norfolk Farming Conference, see tomorrow’s papers.

9 comments

  • Dave01, no need to worry mate..population growth is not happening in the western world, the UK's expanding population is all down to migration. Us natives are not having sprogs or in many cases just can't afford them. Unleashing GM food on the 3rd world will also check their population growth, along with perpetual wars aided by us...slate.comarticlestechnologyfuture_tense201301world_population_may_actually_start_declining_not_exploding.html

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • WTH - may we hear your farming concept or is it a secret? I agree with your GM view, in so much as randomly sticking insect genes into plant genes is not a natural science and my conversations with unbiased ( a rare breed of)scientists in the past seem to suggest it is not worth the effort, unless of course you can sell a seed that grows an infertile plant so you always have to buy more seeds from the GM seed producer... or a "majick" fertilizer etc.,, a strange business indeed. I for one won't knowingly eat anything GM, even if it is safe; on principle and that we really don't need it here anyway.....

    Report this comment

    Dave01

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • I have a farming concept, but I have all but given up on the UK, and am trying to gain interest from a University in St. Petersburg, Russia..

    Report this comment

    WTH

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • It is not so much that UK Farmers are being left behind, it is just the case that no government is concerned about the rapidly expanding global population which is going unchecked and is having a knock on effect in food imports and exports. For example countries are now less willing to export grain to UK when they need it themselves. The problem wont go away with GM or any other technology. The population growth level goes exponential but not the limited resources or any known technology.

    Report this comment

    Dave01

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • Dave01: "... the rapidly expanding global population which is going unchecked and is having a knock on effect in food imports and exports. For example countries are now less willing to export grain to UK when they need it themselves.". Which countries?

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013

  • Also in Farmers Weekly; Some US farmers are considering returning to conventional seed after increased pest resistance and crop failures meant GM crops saw smaller yields globally than their non-GM counterparts. http:www.fwi.co.ukarticles06022013137518us-farmers-may-stop-planting-gms-after-poor-global-yields.htm

    Report this comment

    WTH

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • Kind of quiet at the moment, as you can't really copy right a farming principle, made several inquires in UK, but nothing that makes it worthwhile for me, as would want one of the farms for myself at a reasonable price(Reason for going abroad) and would take a few years to reach full production (thus research grants no good). Basics are it would be part of a farming syndicate or community(10+), Would need to be appx 28 acres per farm for a UK wage(scalable), should be wholly self sufficient and organic, and includes provisions for broiler and layer hens, also either Dexters or Goats, 9 acres for grains, 9 acres for vegetables incl., mulch, small orchard plus a few extras on the land, seed saving, eco-home, fertilizer needs, and electricity generation. Had third world in mind, but Russia or Bulgaria seems best bet for it.

    Report this comment

    WTH

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • University of Wisconsin scientists who found that several types of GMO seeds (including Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready varieties) actually produce a lower yield than conventional seeds. Only one seed — a corn that produces its own pesticide to combat the corn borer — offers any significant yield benefit. The researchers looked at 20 years of data from test plots in Wisconsin from 1990-2010, both on research plots and on plots in participating farmers’ fields. But I'm sure a research company funded by millions for Bayer or Monsanto will dispel it as usual.

    Report this comment

    WTH

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • Also search 'Farmers Weekly US farmers may stop planting GMO' States; Some US farmers are considering returning to conventional seed after increased pest resistance and crop failures meant GM crops saw smaller yields globally than their non-GM counterparts. One of the biggest problems the USA has seen with GM seed is resistance. While it was expected to be 40 years before resistance began to develop pests such as corn rootworm have formed a resistance to GM crops in as few as 14 years. The top performing countries by crop yield last year were in Asia, in particular China, where farmers do not use GM seed. Also, after round-up, next on the list is a derivative of Agent Orange from Dow, (I'm not keen on digesting that!!)if this only lasts 14 years, then what?? Any beneficial microbes etc., in the soil will be dead along with the soil.

    Report this comment

    WTH

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT