OCTOBER 23, 2009: The Soil Association says it strongly disagrees with the call from the Royal Society report ‘Reaping the benefits: towards sustainable intensification of global agriculture’ that GM crops are needed to prevent a catastrophic food crisis by 2050.

Emma Hockridge, Soil Association policy coordinator, said: “GM is past its sell by date. For over two decades huge claims have been made about the potential for GM, which have not come to fruition. Why is an organisation like the Royal Society banging the drum for a failing technology when exciting new developments such as Marker Assisted Selection, included in the report recommendations, are producing almost all of the successful innovations in crop breeding?” “Scientific evidence proves that low input systems, such as organic, can provide sustainable solutions to food security. The IAASTD report, produced by 400 international scientists and supported by 60 governments, including the UK, backed organic agriculture and similar ‘agro-ecological’ approaches as part of a ‘radical change’ in the way the world produces food. “This report is trying to overturn the findings of IAASTD, which is strange, given the fact that the UK Government have actually signed up to it. “In the US there have been two federal court cases which have banned new GM crops because they remove the right of farmers to grow non-GM crops. The stark reality is that if we have GM crops grown in this country it will eventually destroy the livelihoods of organic farmers.”