Plant Breeding and GM Will Be Crucial to UK Food Strategy

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Byline: Karen Dent

PLANT breeding is tipped to be the most important production development for agriculture in the 21st Century, with genetically modified (GM) species expected to play an important part in sustainable food production.

Experts discussing the issue at the Oxford Farming Conference also pointed to the importance of soil and water management techniques to ensure farming remaining sustainable against a backdrop of climate change.

The conference commissioned two pieces of specialist research for discussion at the event, which was used by Defra Secretary Hilary Benn as the venue to unveil the Government's latest food strategy.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council concentrated on the issue of growing sufficient food and took on board findings from the National Farm Research Unit and the views of 10 technical specialists in the food industry gathered by the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD). Dairy nutrition company Volac was also involved in the study.

Researchers told the conference that farmers, scientists, the food industry and the Government must work closely together if UK agriculture is to increase production while protecting the environment. …