GM potatoes for UK 'in 10 years'?
The BBC news website is running a story today on BASF requesting permission to grow GM potatoes in the United Kingdom. According to the article:
"BASF says it hopes GM potatoes could be sold in the UK within 10 years. It says they would be resistant to late blight disease, meaning no need for spraying fields with fungicides, and could save millions in damaged crops."
However, they face opposition from environmentalists who say "consumers do not want GM potatoes even if it means cutting back on chemicals." Claire Oxborough, from Friends of the Earth said:
"Consumers have already made that choice and that's why all the supermarkets and food companies have stopped using GM ingredients in their foods."
However, an earlier story on the BBC website reavealed the potential value of such research as it emerged that the Soil Association, which promotes organic farming as being free of artificial chemicals has admitted that copper-based (copper oxychloride) sprays were being used to control late blight. From the article:
Tom Gilbert, who runs Ballylaggan organic farm in Northern Ireland, questions whether organic potato production should even be attempted in the British isles because of a climate which almost invariably results in blight infection.
He said: "If you have to spray things to make them succeed, it's not really what the organic ideal is about. I do it with a heavy heart spraying them because I don't really approve of it."