The potential impacts on the UK agricultural industry of either adopting or not adopting genetically modified cereals and oilseeds is the subject of a new desk-based study commissioned by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board's Home Grown Cereals Authority.

The six-month project will model a number of scenarios looking at the possible economic implications of both adoption and non-adoption of GM technologies on farm and throughout the supply chain, as well as the effects on land use and the environment. The study,  An evidence-based review on the likely economic and environmental impact of genetically modified cereals and oilseeds for UK agriculture, will be conducted by the University of Reading with a team of six economists, statisticians and agricultural scientists.  

The awarding of the project follows a call for proposals issued in November 2012 under HGCA ’s Investing in Innovation research strategy. 

Although a wealth of studies have been published both on the impacts of GM in countries such as the United States and on consumer attitudes to GM products, this is the first time a study of this kind has been explored within the context of the UK cereals and oilseeds industry.

Dr. Vicky Foster, senior HGCA research and knowledge transfer manager, said: “With limited approval of this technology in Europe there is little evidence available on what impact it could have for UK agriculture and nothing specifically for cereals and oilseeds. 

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“The topic of genetically modified food and feed continues to generate a high level of interest and debate. HGCA is reviewing the implications for UK growers, merchants and primary processors of adoption versus non-adoption of GM cereals and oilseeds in order to provide an evidence-based approach to the question of whether or not these technologies could be of benefit to the industry.”

The final report of the project will be published by HGCA in late 2012.