Wednesday, 25 May 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
38. Dr. Twomey asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the plans her Department has to evaluate the economic implications of the use of genetically modified organisms; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17309/05]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mary Coughlan): Teagasc has an ongoing programme of research that is investigating the potential risks and benefits associated with the growing of GM crops in Ireland including, inter alia, the economic implications. Preliminary research completed to date indicates that the cultivation of certain crops with certain modifications may provide a financial incentive to the individual Irish farmer. While strands of this research parallel work completed in other countries it does not specifically address the costs associated with the co-existence of GM and non-GM crops.
The general conclusion of Danish and UK research on the economic impact of co-existence on farm profitability is that the costs of complying with the required thresholds for crops of maize, potatoes, cereals, oil seed rape and sugar beet vary from zero to 9% above the costs of growing conventional crops. However, it should be noted that costs described were based on estimates.
To establish greater clarity in the matter, as far as Irish conditions are concerned, I have asked Teagasc to explore the possibility of carrying out an evaluation of the possible national economic implications for the agri-food industry from the possible use of GMOs in crop and livestock production. Teagasc has now set up an internal working group of economists, agronomists and animal scientists to address this question in more detail and plans to publish the results of its analysis in due course.
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