strategy

Developing pesticide and herbicide tolerant crops

Synonyms:
Genetically-modifying food plants to resist pests
Description:
Developing "designer" systems for crop production that combine chemical resistance in the crops plants with applications of the chemical to kill weeds or pests of the crop. For example, genetic engineering has produced herbicide-tolerant crops on which are a applied general systemic herbicide to kills all weeds.
Context:
There are differing views as to whether there would be environmental advantages or disadvantages in using a single, broad-spectrum herbicide compared with the current practice of using several different products. Some people have suggested that the level of herbicide usage on herbicide tolerant crops will rise, while others have suggested it will fall.
Implementation:
The UK plant breeding industry has agreed with the UK government for a programme of managed development of herbicide tolerant genetically modified (GM) crops whereby the first farm-scale plantings are strictly limited and monitored for ecological effects along with comparable plantings of conventional crops. This process will be underpinned by the strict guidelines for best practice in using GM crops. The results of these farm-scale evaluations will be carefully assessed before moving further. If, during this process, evidence of harm is found then the UK government will take appropriate action. The industry has also made the important commitment that no insect resistant GM crops will be introduced into the UK for the next three years. The concept of managed development provides a precautionary way forward to investigate in a proper scientific framework the concerns that some GM crops might be harmful to the environment.
Counter Claim:
1. Widespread planting of GM herbicide tolerant crops may lead to changes in agricultural practice that will further reduce biodiversity. Herbicides applied to such GM modified crops should be assessed for their effect on non-target species. It is extremely important that commercialisation of GM crops does not proceed before this information is available and has been assessed.

2. It is very likely that the use of specific herbicides would interrupt the food supply chain for insects, small mammals and birds. The commercial use of GM crops in agriculture must not put unacceptable pressure on our countryside and wildlife and prejudice the goal of maintaining and where possible enhancing farmland biodiversity.

3. Herbicide tolerance, which is one of the main traits being engineered into crops, may cause serious problems as a result of spreading to neighbouring crops and related wild plants.

Values:
Abuse
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal