The headlines and rhetoric about genetically modified (GM) crops and foods have been alarming, and it would not be surprising if you had reservations about both of them. There may be risks attached to GM technology, but we believe there are also enormous potential benefits – and that these benefits far outweigh the risks. Where we see real benefits we will say so loudly and if we have concerns we will be just as vocal.

The barrage of criticism levelled at GM crops could well deny us many very real benefits - benefits to the environment in terms of reduced use of chemicals, to the consumer in the form of more nutritious foods and lower prices, and to the developing world through a more secure supply of food.

At a time when people increasingly demand to know how technology affects them, any new development will have to work hard to gain public acceptance. That is not necessarily a bad thing provided the issues are addressed seriously. Several recent scare stories – not just about GM crops – have shown how scientific information is misused in pursuit of other agendas. More understanding and open debate about science and technology is long overdue. If crop biotechnology is sacrificed along the way in the UK, or in Europe more widely, it could be one of the great missed opportunities of our time. Most of the world is forging ahead, not waiting for the doubters to make up their minds.

CropGen makes the case for GM crops (crop biotechnology) on the basis of publicly available information. We have no access to confidential material and would not use it if we had: it is a cornerstone of our approach that our sources must be available to everyone who wants to know.

Whenever we can, we prefer to use data from peer-reviewed publications but that is often not possible. But wherever the information comes from, it has to be information equally accessible to anyone who takes the trouble to get it.

There are many issues to be considered besides the purely scientific and technical, including economic, social, political and moral factors. But if the basic facts are wrong or misused, all that is built upon them will similarly be at fault. It is our objective to do what we can to ensure that in the public debate the "facts" are the real ones, not what some people would like them to be or pretend that they are.

  the case for crop biotechnology