Thumbnail Image

Farmer views on the use of genetic engineering in agriculture

Fairweather, John R.
Maslin, Crystal L.
Gossman, P.
Campbell, H.
Fields of Research
The objective of the research reported here was to determine farmers’ views about genetic engineering, including their intentions to use genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and their views about GMOs, environment attitudes and sustainability. The results of the survey continue the ongoing surveys of farmer opinion that have been a longstanding feature of research conducted by the AERU. The current topic is of considerable importance to the current debate about genetic engineering. Promoters of genetic engineering point out the advantages to New Zealand in adopting this technology and detractors argue against its use pointing out there are many disadvantages. What is often not considered in this debate is the viewpoint of farmers who may or may not adopt the products of genetic engineering (GMOs). It is vital that farmer viewpoints are considered since their reaction to the new technology will drive what will actually happen on the ground. This report presents responses to a carefully prepared questionnaire and gives both an overview of farmers’ responses as a whole and then analyses these responses in terms of intention to use either GMOs, organic methods or conventional methods of production. The results will be of interest to farmers, policy makers and those concerned about the use, or lack of use, of GMOs.