GM crop co-existence must build on supply chain realities

Farm supply chain group SCIMAC has welcomed the inclusion of its industry-based proposals among the options for consideration in the Governmentıs long-awaited consultation on GM crop co-existence, published today.

Following the Governmentıs GM crop policy statement in March 2004, SCIMAC took the initiative in submitting a six-point plan to Government, after widespread consultation with others along the farm and food supply chain.

Key measures included are an updated version of the SCIMAC on-farm guidelines, delivered through existing farm assurance schemes, and a commitment by the GM sector to develop an industry-based 'Redress Charter' to deal with issues of liability surrounding the commercial cultivation of GM crops.

'As a single body covering the entire crop development, production and distribution chain, SCIMAC represents those sectors who will deal with the issue of GM crop co-existence in practice,' said SCIMAC chairman Bob Fiddaman.

'Co-existence is about promoting choice, not prejudice. It is not a pro- or anti-GM issue. This consultation concerns the practical measures which will be needed to let farmers choose between GM and non-GM crop production, and to give consumers a choice between GM and non-GM products.'

'It's important to stress that co-existence is not new to farmers and the supply chain. The consultation raises issues which the non-GM supply chain deals with on a day-to-day basis.'

'The primary function of the supply chain is to service the specifications of a range of different market outlets, and to deal with cases where crops are off-specification.'

'The situation with GM and non-GM crops is no different. That's why we are pressing for arrangements which are grounded in reality, and which build on proven supply chain practices.'

'SCIMAC members remain committed to finding practical solutions which will allow the responsible development of new technology, its co-existence with all other farming methods, and the provision of genuine choice to growers and consumers alike,' concluded Mr Fiddaman.

July 2006

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