A major cereals levy board has outlined the benefits of GM crops for both consumers and farmers.

According to research commissioned by the HGCA, GM crops could help both farmers and consumers, while supporting competitiveness in the global marketplace for the UK.

In a report published today (11 March) GM crop production is also less environmentally damaging.

HGCA’s Dr Vicky Foster said: “We felt it was important to develop an independent evidence base, free from distortion and speculation, to better prepare the industry for the implications of GM crop production, should the technology become available in the UK.

“We recognise that GM is an emotive subject but this report is specifically focused on the science, rather than consumer acceptability of GM products.

“However, we live in a market economy and farmers and processors are reliant on consumer demand for their products. Although this study demonstrates there would be tangible benefits to farmers and the environment in certain GM crop production scenarios, ultimately the decision rests in the hands of the consumer.”

The study found that GM crops could benefit farmers economically under certain circumstances, and could also result in a lesser carbon footprint.

It also said that other benefits of farming with GM methods were a cleaner crop, better soil condition and reduced weed burden returned to the land.

The report is called ‘An evidence-based review on the likely economic and environmental impact of genetically modified (GM) cereals and oilseeds for UK agriculture’, and uses data from more than 170 publications and reports to pull together analysis of GM crops.