Monday, 30 March 2009

Support conventional plant breeding

News Release: Immediate use

Rob Gibson SNP MSP has secured a member's debate in Parliament on Wednesday 1st April. It calls for support for conventional plant breeding from our world class Scottish research institutes.

Mr Gibson will be addressing the need to secure supplies of blight resistant potatoes and non GM animal feed for Scottish farmers and crofters so that produce from Scotland can maintain our reputation for producing healthy, tasty food that consumers want to buy.

He said, "We must make best use of bodies like the Scottish Crop Research Institute near Dundee to develop conventional crops both for human and animal consumption. Far too much animal feed is imported, some of which is GM soya from Brazil and Argentina. The backlash from growers in those countries and consumer concerns point to European authorities seeking locally grown alternatives such as lupines to replace soya. Far too much research time has been paid for by GM companies like Monsanto with precious few acceptable results."

"Regarding soya for animal feed, I have opened discussions with NFUS on the work of Dr John Fagan who has conducted experiments that show non-GM soya is both more productive and cheaper for farmers. Such experiments need to be replicated in Scottish conditions."

" I will highlight conventional means to develop the strains of blight resistant potatoes to fit Scottish conditions. The Sárvári Research project at Bangor in North Wales uses Hungarian potato strains that were trialled in the Black Isle in Ross-shire. We need more application of these Sarpo varieties in quantities that commercial growers can use."

"My debate will allow Parliament to discuss the issues surrounding enhanced research and grasp the fruits of strong trends across Europe and worldwide to adopt conventional plant breeding to meet our burgeoning food needs on this crowded planet."



S3M-03205# Rob Gibson (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish National Party): Supporting Conventional Plant Breeding— 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.
Supported by: Kenneth Gibson, Michael Matheson, Dr Alasdair Allan, Bill Kidd, Jamie Hepburn, Brian Adam, Dr Bill Wilson, Robin Harper, Joe FitzPatrick, Roseanna Cunningham, Gil Paterson, Christina McKelvie, Aileen Campbell, Bashir Ahmad, Hugh Henry, Dave Thompson, Stuart McMillan
Lodged on Monday, January 12, 2009; Current

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