2. Compliance

SCIMAC recognises the need to ensure that farmers growing GM crops comply with the co-existence measures specified in the SCIMAC guidelines. As discussed under ‘Co-responsibility’ (point 5), SCIMAC supports the proposed establishment of statutory separation distances and notification arrangements, provided these are science-based and practicable.

In line with the European Commission’s recommendation that GM crop co-existence measures should build on established industry systems, it is proposed that other measures specified in the updated SCIMAC guidelines can be incorporated within existing farm assurance schemes. This is the second component of SCIMAC’s six-point plan on co-existence (nb compliance with the SCIMAC guidelines is already included as a requirement of the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme, covering more than 20,000 growers).

Farm assurance schemes are well-established in the UK as a proven mechanism for the delivery and verification of on-farm management standards. Some 85-90% of crops placed on the market in the UK are covered by such schemes.

Failure to comply with the specified requirements of farm assurance schemes can result in withdrawal or loss of assured status. Crops offered for sale without the backing of farm assurance are discounted in price– many buyers will simply not accept unassured crops. This provides a strong economic incentive for farmers to ensure they comply with the requirements of farm assurance schemes.

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