Politicians need to show GM technology leadership
example of staying in the middle of the road to get hit from both sides and Ireland has got grief from both the ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ GM lobby on its stance.
Ireland changed tack of late and voted against GM authorisation during the recent vote in the EU on DuPont Pioneer 1507, a GM modification of maize against the corn borer.
The fact that the corn borer is a pest that affects maize crops in hot countries and is not an issue in Ireland, or that control of the corn borer otherwise involves the judicious use of heavy duty insecticides, doesn’t seem to become part of the discussion.
With the large biotech industries we are proud to have in this country, the strong scientific history we are just as proud to show off, and the science based development of agriculture we espouse to in Food Harvest 2020, Ireland now votes against GM technology on the basis that it ‘is an issue of public sensitivity across member states’.
As I have said previously, GM technology is no magic formula, the introduction of the technology was quite rightly held back until research was carried out, safeguards were put in place and experience of the technology has been garnered from other countries.
However, all the structures that were called for before the technology would be allowed are now in place at EU and national l e vel , but our politicians still acquiesce to the most vocal and do not show leadership when called upon.
It’s bad enough for the country to vote against science, but to find yourself on the losing side makes it all the worse.
The closing date for the Zurich Farmer of the Year awards is approaching. I am particularly interested in the ‘Alternative/ other farmer’ category.
I used to be slightly ambivalent towards alternative enterprises. Time spent away from a core business can be very detrimental towards the core income stream. However, I have seen that in difficult times, the more income streams you have the more likely some of them will stay performing and keep a business afloat.
Also, alternative enterprises tend to bring people around a farm which can make life more interesting and often alternative enterprises can enforce efficiency in the core business while providing income to develop the business as a whole.
Looking at the categories, the ‘other’ category will be interesting to see how a whole raft of sectors can be compared and judged.
The list of other categories is wide, off the top of my head it can i nclude hor t i c ul t ure, organics, forestry, food manufacturing, nursery stock, agritourism, poultry, pigs, even consultants might be squeezed into the mix. It’s over to you to add to that list, with the closing date for entries being March 7.