Wales leads Europe in protecting crops from GM threat
Wales joined together with other like-minded European regions in Florence this week to discuss measures for protecting conventional and organic agriculture from the risks of genetic modification.At a meeting of the European Regions Network (ERM), which was part founded by Wales, suggestions for strict coexistence measures were put forward to protect European farming from any threat of contamination from the growing commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) crops.
Although there is no likelihood of GM crops being grown in Wales for the time being, Welsh Minister for the Environment, Planning and Countryside, Carwyn Jones, said he was keen to take a proactive approach to ensure that crops could not be adversely affected if such a situation arose.
"Wales is again demonstrating its commitment to protecting our agriculture industry from the impacts of potential commercialisation of GM crops within the UK," he stated.
"The Welsh Assembly Government will be represented at the meeting because it is keen to work with other regions throughout Europe to develop the strictest possible regulations to clearly differentiate between GM, traditional and organic farming."
He added that Wales intended to join European counterparts in signing a Charter of the Regions, as long as it was compatible with the Welsh Assembly's objectives and legal framework.
The Florence conference is the third meeting of the ERM, established in 2003 to take forward the Commission's recommendation for the development of national strategies and best practice to ensure the health coexistence of GM products with traditionally or organically farmed crops.
By Jane Kettle