Farmers around the world upbeat about GM food crops

February 25th, 2008 - 11:19 am ICT by admin  

London, Feb 25 (IANS) Buoyed by the prospects of bumper, high-quality harvests at lower costs, farmers are feeling upbeat about GM food, according to a new study. The study, funded by Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and conducted by an Open University team, has taken the first systematic look at what large-scale, commodity farmers think about genetically modified crops.

Lead researcher Andy Lane and colleagues found that both farmers who have been involved in GM crop trials and those who have not regard GM as an extension of established plant breeding techniques.

They regard GM crops as an innovation, which can be assessed on its merits. Their real interest is in how GM crops would work in practice and whether they can contribute to the profitability of their farms.

The research suggests that these farmers do not think that GM raises any issues of principle, or that it is a matter of right or wrong.

The researchers also looked at how farmers learn about new developments such as GM.

They found that most of the learning that farmers do is informal, for example by experimentation or from their networks, which are made up from a wide range of people - not necessarily farmers.

These networks can extend over long distances, the researchers found.

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