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GMO could offer boost to farmers

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
GMO could offer boost to farmers

THE Scottish Government has been challenged over its opposition to ‘gene editing’, despite farmers crying out for it.

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson, convener of the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment committee, insists the SNP-Green Government is wrong to ignore the cultivation of genetically modified organism (GMO).

He maintains that government ministers clearly misunderstand that there is a significant difference between genetic modification and gene editing.

Mr Carson said: “It is clear that the SNP policy is simply to stay aligned with the EU, where practicable, without actually listening to the needs and wishes of Scottish farmers.

“The UK Parliament has now introduced a bill which will make it easier to conduct field trials of plants produced by genetic technologies such as gene editing.

“This legislation will allow farmers to plant crops that have been edited to be more resistant to disease or need less water or fertiliser. Yet the Scottish Government doesn’t want to know about the many benefits that would be gained by the farming sector.”

The MSP raised the issue at Holyrood last Thursday where he questioned the Scottish minister responsible about gene editing, Lorna Slater.

However, she admitted that she hadn’t been briefed over the matter.

Mr Carson said afterwards: “I find this quite remarkable that the Green Minister has not been advised over this matter despite the opportunities it offers Scottish farmers.”

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