Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 February 2018

52pc say Teagasc was right on GM potato trials

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Teagasc was correct to proceed with trials involving genetically modified (GM) potatoes at its headquarters in Oakpark, Carlow.

This was the view of 52pc of the farmers questioned for the Farming Independent survey at the National Ploughing Championships.

Thirty-four percent of farmers said they 'strongly agreed' with the decision to go ahead with the trials, while 18pc said they 'agreed slightly'.

However, 20pc said they 'disagreed strongly', while a further 7pc said they 'disagreed slightly'. The remaining 21pc said they were either unsure or didn't know.

Asked whether it was now time for Ireland to embrace GM technology, 45pc of the respondents said 'yes', 26pc said 'no', while 29pc were 'unsure' or 'didn't know'.

Earlier this year Teagasc received consent to carry out field trials on genetically modified potatoes, provoking a storm of protest from anti-GM campaigners.

The potatoes have been altered to improve resistance to late potato blight which Teagasc say costs farmers here €15m a year in lost crops. Trials will be carried out for four years.

In other results from the survey, 51pc of farmers still had not registered for the septic tank charge by late last week.

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The survey also found that 37pc of those who had not registered said they did not intend to do so. This translates to 19pc or almost one in five of the total sample. With almost 120,000 farmers in the country, the refusal of 19pc to pay the septic tank charge would equate to 24,000 households.

If this trend was mirrored across all rural dwellers, it could result in up to 100,000 households refusing to pay the charge given that there are nearly 500,000 septic tanks in the country as a whole.

Last Friday was the deadline for householders to avail of the concessionary registration fee of €5. From now until February 1 the charge for registering a septic tank increases to €50.

But despite the lower fee, just 44pc of the 604 farmers surveyed said they had registered for the charge.

Indo Farming