Britain divided over use of GM crops

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Farmers and consumers in the United Kingdom remain divided over whether they should grow genetically modified (GM) crops and surveys aimed at determining what farmers really think show the dramatic division in opinions. A survey by Farmers Weekly, showed that the majority (61 percent) would grow GM crops if it were legal. However, a study from YouGov of UK consumers showed only 21 percent would support GM food.

Between the two surveys, 625 independent farmers and 2,301 consumers in the UK were surveyed. The surveys show that there is a wide gap between the attitudes of farmers vs. the attitudes of consumers in the UK about the use of GM crops.

Of the farmers questioned, 19 percent said the largest advantage to planting GM crops would be the reduced environmental impact, while 16 percent said it would put UK farmers on a level playing field with global farmers who grow them already.

On the flip side, consumers remain wary of GM crops. According to the surveys, 67 percent of UK adults would prefer to buy conventional food. However, only 24 percent would prefer to buy organic food.

Only 22 percent of consumers said they believed their government should be promoting the adoption of GM technology. Forty-three percent are completely against it.

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Brian John    
Newport  |  July, 10, 2013 at 12:14 AM

The farmers survey has no credibility,having come from a strongly biased sample. The respondents were self-selecting, from the readership of Farmers Weekly, and most were big commodity farmers. The sample hardly reflects the opinion of the 350,000 farmers in the UK. You have also got your percentages wrong. The 19% and 16% figures you quote were NOT percentages from the whole 625 respondents, but percentages from those who thought GM crops a good idea. Sloppy journalism -- more care please.

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