The UK Conservative Government bill to boost food security will put the ball in the Labour Cardiff Bay Government’s court to decide whether that is a priority for the country, say the Welsh Conservatives.
DEFRA will bring forward new legislation to make the UK the best place in the world to invest in agri-food research and innovation; use technology to develop precision-bred plants and animals to bolster food production, resistance to pests and diseases, and resilience to climate change; and reduce pesticide usage to lower costs to farmers and protect the environment.
The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill will remove unnecessary barriers to research into new gene editing technology, which for too long has been held back by the EU’s rules around gene editing – hindering the UK’s world leading agricultural research institutions.
Outside of the EU and free to set rules that work in the best interest of the UK, this Bill will enable the development and marketing of precision bred plants and animals which will drive economic growth and attract investment into agri-food research and innovation in the UK.
Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Samuel Kurtz MS said:
“This bill is an exciting and innovative opportunity for post-Brexit Britain to show what can be done in the realm of agriculture and food security when it is more important now than it has been for generations as the war in Ukraine upsets the balance of global trade.
“The new legislation will bolster food production, resistance to pests and diseases, and resilience to climate change as well make the UK the best place in the world to invest in agri-food research and innovation, in addition to lowering costs to farmers and protecting the environment.
“The proposals have the backing of the Food Standards Agency, farmers unions, and scientists. So, we hope these proposals get the backing of the Labour Government who can choose to dogmatically stick to outdated thinking or take a bold and modern step to support Welsh agriculture.
“The focus is now on the Labour Government – it can also prioritise food security, something foolishly dismissed as an issue by the First Minister merely weeks ago, or it can embrace the opportunity and take the necessary steps to ensure Wales benefits from this much-needed new regime.”