Threat to Livestock Industry; Farming

Article excerpt

Byline: By Sam Wood

MINISTERS have warned that Europe is facing a feed shortage which could ruin the livestock industry unless the EU changes its attitude to GM crops.

The warning follows last week's meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council, with ministers urging the Commission to improve the approval procedure for new biotech crops.

The fears are based on a report from the directorate general for Agriculture and Rural Development, which found that under current regulations the EU is facing a major feed shortage which could put up to a third of livestock farmers out of business.

Approval of new crops have been slow and the EU zero-tolerance stance on unapproved varieties is disrupting feedstocks, the report says.

Countries such as Brazil the US and Argentina are approving new crops at a much faster rate than the EU.

The result is that more and more crops produced in these countries are entering the EU.

EU agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel admitted the policy needs to be addressed.

She said: "It is obvious the problems of approvals will be increasing and we will face huge problems in the agricultural sector.

"To postpone any new approvals will have dramatic consequences. The production of meat will move out of Europe and then we will have to import meat."

According to the report, the impact on the poultry industry will be the greatest, with a 44% drop in production as early as 2010. …