This week, a bill to accelerate the manufacturing of genetically edited crops will be brought to Parliament. As the world faces a potential food crisis in the aftermath of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the government hopes the bill will allow it to shore up the country’s reserves of wheat.
Genetically edited crops are more resistant to disease and easier to grow. Russia and Ukraine supply around 28 per cent of the world’s wheat, but the war is playing havoc with these supplies. Wheat prices are up and amidst a cost of living crisis, this risks fuelling food poverty further in the UK and in many other places – especially in the Middle East and North Africa.
According to the World Food Programme, some 50 million people could be pushed into starvation.
The Genetic Technology bill has been in the making since Brexit, but will be presented to Parliament with a renewed sense of urgency.