GM-free Britain develops GM crops for Africa
Britain is planning to spend up to EUR115m on support for genetically modified crops for the world's poor. A new white paper shows the government is committed to dramatically increasing spending on high-tech agriculture in the next five years, much of which will be on GM crop research. Biofortified crops, containing added vitamins, will receive £80m of development money, £60m will go to researching drought-resistant maize for Africa and a further £24m will be spent on pest resistance. In addition, support will be doubled for an international network of GM crop research stations collaborating with GM companies. A further tranche of UK aid will go to a research initiative backed by the GM crop firm Syngenta, which is developing a strain of rice modified to increase vitamin A.
The white paper avoids the terms "genetically modified". But scientists and development experts are certain that much of the money will be spent on GM, according to newspaper Guardian.
The plans are delicate because Britain has not allowed any GM crops to be grown commercially at home. The move to support the development of high-tech food for Africa is deemed as a way not only to to reduce poverty but also to gain acceptance for GM foods in Britain.