This month, members of The Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC), will gather in Brisbane to debate key issues facing the global agricultural sector. (20th – 24th October)

RASC President, HRH Princess Royal, will be in attendance along with leading agricultural show societies.

Presenting a case for GM Crops and its role in food security will be recently retired MEP, Mr James Elles. Mr Elles will call for a more open mind on the controlled use of genetically modified crops and cautions against the ‘fear factor’ that is in danger of halting the march of scientific progress.

The argument for food security lies in the growth of the world’s population, which has risen during the 20th Century from 1.6billion to over 6 billion: it is expected to peak around 8.3 billion by 2030.

According to Mr Elles, the challenge this poses will require every ounce of human creativity to ensure that the world’s population can be constantly fed. He explains: “I firmly believe we cannot put to one side technological developments that will help solve this enormous challenge ahead.

“Global reactions to GM science differs dramatically for example, development in the US has been relatively problem free, while in the EU, there has been much sharper reactions from a whole range of consumer lobbies. This transatlantic difference is openly revealed as the US and the EU build a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Treaty (TTIP)

“In the EU, the debate is beginning to change with, for example, the recent forthright statements from the EU’s chief scientist Anne Glover (can we have a reference source here?).”

Mr Elles will be calling up delegates to do what they can to support scientific advancement in food security.

He concluded: “As key influencers in this debate, it falls on agricultural societies to support the controlled use of GM crops. Societies also have an important role to play in educating their members and the public at large, on the nature of GM crops and the need for advancement if we are to secure food production for future generations.”


For further information contact [email protected] on 01383 432608.

Note to editors

Founded in 1957, the purpose of the RASC was to encourage and arrange an interchange of knowledge and experience in agriculture throughout the Commonwealth, working with and through the leading National Agricultural Show Societies.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT was invited to become the first President of the RASC. He retired from this role at his 90th birthday, and has been succeeded by HRH The Princess Anne KG KT.

Membership of the RASC is open to leading/principal Agricultural Show Societies or Associations of Farmers within the Commonwealth. Membership is also open to other well-established Show Societies, Agricultural Colleges, Research Establishments or other Agricultural Organisations in Commonwealth countries.

Royal Show Societies in non-Commonwealth countries, which would otherwise qualify for full membership, may also be considered as Associate Members.

There is no category of membership for individuals but such people can become “Friends of the RASC”, by doing this can be seen to be supportive of RASC’s work.

The RASC has almost 60 Member Societies, a confederation of Commonwealth Agricultural Show Societies embracing some 25 countries across the world.

The RASC operates as a “not-for-profit” company, limited by guarantee and has charitable status. It is managed by a Board of Trustees comprising nine elected and two appointed Member Representatives together with three Honorary Officers. The

Chairman of the Board is The Rt Hon Lord Vestey GCVO.