Scottish farmers could be left behind warns Chapman

Peter Chapman MSP says Scotland's farming industrywould not remain competitive if England and Wales chose to go down a different route.
Peter Chapman MSP says Scotland's farming industrywould not remain competitive if England and Wales chose to go down a different route.

Shadow Rural Economy Secretary Peter Chapman has warned that Scottish farmers risk being left behind if the SNP government does not review its position on GM crops.

The Scottish Conservative MSP’s comments follow a letter from Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing to DEFRA Secretary Michael Gove earlier this week. Mr Ewing has called for the Scottish “opt-out” on the cultivation of GM crops to continue post-Brexit.

However, Mr Chapman has argued that GM is not an EU issue, but in fact one that has to be resolved within the UK. At present, there are some countries within the EU that allow GM, while others do not.

Mr Chapman, Shadow Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity and a North East Region MSP, said: "My view on this has always been that we have to give due regard to the science.

“If the science tells us that GM crops are safe, and there is no doubt in my mind that is the case, then there is no issue.

"The problem is that the SNP government did not listen to the science when it imposed the Scottish ban - it was a political decision.

"The argument here is not about Brexit. There are already countries within the EU that allow GM.

“This is a UK issue. It will have to be resolved, however, as Scotland's farming industry would not remain competitive if England and Wales chose to go down a different route.

"One example would be if GM blight resistant potatoes were developed - something which is actively being pursued.

"The Scottish seed potato sector would simply not survive if that was cultivated elsewhere and we continued with the ban on GM crops."