Scotland will ban the use of all genetically modified crops, according to the country’s rural affairs minister. The country—which has been under majority rule of the Scottish National Party since 2011—wants to take advantage of new EU rules that allow devolved legislatures to restrict or ban the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). If successful, Scotland will face increased competition from farmers south of the border, where Conservative policy allows for cultivation of the controversial crops.
“Banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status,” said rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead in a statement. “There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector.”
Lochhead’s announcement was met with apprehension from the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS). “This is simply going to make us less competitive,” NFUS vice president Andrew McCornick told the Scotsman. “There is going to be one side of the Border in England where they may adopt biotechnology, but just across the River Tweed farmers are not going to be allowed to. How are these farmers going to be capable of competing in the same market?”
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