Town council in the northeast region of Fljótsdalshérað have approved an operation permit for a company planning to grow genetically modified (GM) crops in the region, despite strong protest from farmers in the area.
As reported, Orf Genetics wanted to begin growing GM barley in the region, in a nursery called Barra. They have long contended that their crops are safe and that there is no danger of cross-pollination.
However, nearby is an organic farm called Mother Earth (Móðir jörð) which grows organic vegetables and barley. They say that their concerns have been unanswered by anyone associated with the Barra project.
Furthermore, Eygló Björk Ólafsdóttir, a farmer from the area, told RÚV that she was unconvinced of the alleged safety of GM barley from Orf, saying that the entire prospect of growing GM crops in Iceland is unexplored and needs further study before any licenses to grow it are issued.
Nonetheless, RÚV reports that town council in the region decided to issue an operating license to Orf anyway. They contend that the GM barley, being grown within a nursery, poses little to no danger of being able to cross-pollinate with other crops in the area.
The nursery is expected to go into operation at some time this year.