GM Crops

House of Lords written question – answered on 4th February 2004.

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Photo of Lord Turnberg Lord Turnberg Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In the light of the recommendations of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in its report The Use of GM Crops in Developing Countries, whether the investment in publicly-funded research into genetically modified crops is adequate to fulfil the United Kingdom's obligations to third-world countries.

Photo of Baroness Amos Baroness Amos President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Lords (Privy Council Office)

The Government welcome the report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics on The Use of GM Crops in Developing Countries. The report offers a constructive contribution to the on-going debate on genetic modification technologies. The Government share the report's conclusions that achieving food security and reducing poverty in developing countries are complex issues, that GM crops are unlikely to feed the world but that in some circumstances they could make a useful contribution to improving the livelihoods of poor people in developing countries.

The Department for International Development is currently preparing a new strategy to guide its future research investments. Under this, the department expects to maintain a substantial programme of agricultural research. In support of this intention, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development recently announced an additional £30 million over the next three years for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, a major part of the global effort to mobilise agricultural science to reduce poverty. Some of this funding may support research on genetic modification technologies provided that they have the potential to benefit poor farmers if used safely and responsibly and that developing countries themselves are able to make their own informed choices on whether to adopt these technologies. DfID seeks to ensure that all technologies that it promotes are safe, affordable, appropriate and respond to demand from poor people.

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