Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 18 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Genetically Modified Organisms.

  22. Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food her plans to evaluate the economic implications of the use of genetically modified organisms; the action being taken by her Department to trace the full consignment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29200/04]

  26. Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the plans she has to evaluate the economic implications of the use of genetically modified organisms; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29279/04]

  Mary Coughlan: I propose to take Questions Nos. 22 and 26 together.

An interdepartmental-interagency working group was established within my Department last year to develop proposals for a national strategy and best practices to ensure the co-existence of GM crops with conventional and organic farming. Part of the group’s work programme has been to examine the economic implications of such farming practices.

Preliminary research completed by Teagasc does indicate that the cultivation of certain crops with certain modifications may provide a financial incentive to the Irish farmer. While strands of this research parallel recently completed work in other countries, it does not specifically address the predicted costs of co-existence to the Irish farmer.

The general conclusion of recent 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, oilseed 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. New labelling and traceability legislation requires that all GM products, including animal feed, have to be properly labelled and be accompanied by the appropriate documentation to facilitate full traceability.