Highlands and Islands SNP MSP has called conventional plant breeding 'essential' to National Food and Drink Policy .
Mr Gibson has lodged a motion for debate in Parliament which welcomes the growing body of evidence that Scottish farmers, crofters and growers can benefit from the results of successful experiments to produce home-grown food for both animals and humans that does not rely on transgenic modification of plant material.
The motion gave examples of successful non GM agricultural research both in the development of new varieties and projects which could benefit livestock.
"There has been great strides made by non GM research recently. Not least the successful trialing of blight resistant potatoes in the Black Isle. The Sapró potato which was developed in Wales was tested on the Black Isle proved to be blight resistant and suited to the Scottish climate. The crop research unit in Dundee has produced a purple pigmented potato which is highly nutritious. While the Scottish Agricultural College has joined the Green Pig Project which seeks use home grown legume varieties to reduce reliance on imported and expensive soya bean meal and so reduce costs for Scottish livestock producers."
" These examples are proof that the non GM technologies are effective and do not pose the risks to the environment that Gmseeds do. It could also provide a key to solving the world food crisis."
"The Scottish Government are developing a national food and drink policy. Conventional research can underpin this policy which in turn will aid producers, consumers and the environment."
"I hope that I can gain enough cross party support in Parliament for a member's debate. It would be an ideal opportunity to air the arguments about what is the best for Scotland. The NFU Scotland have been calling for a debate on GM hopefully this can signal the start of the parliamentary leg of a science based alternative."
Copy of Rob's motion
Short Title: Supporting Conventional Plant Breeding
S3M-03205 Rob Gibson (Highlands and Islands) (SNP): That the Parliament welcomes a growing body of evidence that Scottish farmers, crofters and growers can benefit from the results of successful experiments to produce home-grown food for both animals and humans that does not rely on transgenic modification of plant material; also welcomes the recent work of the Scottish Crop Research Institute in producing highly nutritious purple-pigmented potatoes; applauds the Sárvári Research Trust based at Bangor University that confirms that blight-resistant Sárpo potatoes, which were successfully trialed in the Black Isle, are suitable for Scottish conditions; recalls that the Scottish Agricultural College has backed an international research collaboration on the Green Pig project, which plans to use home grown legume varieties to reduce reliance on imported and expensive soya bean meal and so reduce costs for Scottish livestock producers; notes the scientific analysis of Dr John Fagan of Global ID Group, which shows that although non-GM pig feed costs a bit more than GM feed because of feed-to-meat conversion efficiency when using non-GM feed the actual cost per animal is lower, and therefore believes that a conventional plant breeding policy is an essential basis for the Scottish national food and drink policy, which itself dovetails with the conclusions of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development that small-scale farming and ecological methods provide the way forward to avert the current world food crisis.