MP claims Scotland’s farmers will be at direct disadvantage to their counterparts elsewhere in the UK over gene editing rules
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Scotland’s farmers will be placed at a direct disadvantage to their counterparts elsewhere in the UK if the SNP continue to reject plans on gene editing, an MP has told Westminster.
Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid said the Scottish Government risked going against the wishes of farmers and crofters across the north-east by continuing to turn away the proposals.
It follows confirmation in the Queen’s Speech that the UK Government will introduce new legislation – the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill – to unlock the potential of new farming technologies such as gene editing (GE).
NFU Scotland (NFUS) has said farmers and crofters need access to GE technology to become more sustainable.
Mr Duguid reiterated that giving the green light to gene editing would help tackle food insecurity in Scotland and give a much-needed boost to food producers.
He urged the SNP to listen to Scottish Farmers’ concerns accept the UK Government’s invitation to take part in the Bill during the course of its passage through the UK Parliament.
In his speech to Westminster, Mr Duguid said: “I’m disappointed the Scottish Government have so far declined to accept the invitation, favouring rather to remain aligned with the outdated EU approach – an approach which the EU Commission themselves are committed to reviewing.
“However, I am glad the door remains open for them to take part and I am hopeful the Scottish Government may ultimately welcome the opportunity to participate in this process.
“My constituency of Banff and Buchan is predominantly rural and I know from talking to farmers and food producers, as well as the National Farmers Union for Scotland, that gene editing technology in food production is not only desirable but is one of many crucial tools that can be made available to all British farmers.
“Gene editing and precision breeding is not a silver bullet to solve all the challenges we face in our food producing and agriculture sector but it is seen as a tool which can help increase productivity as well as helping to meet other objectives such as improving food security and protecting the environment.
“I believe this bill will advance the UK’s crop resilience and agricultural economy for years to come.
“I hope the Scottish Government decide to take part in this process for the good of farmers and food producers in Scotland.”