The Prince of Wales has risked stirring up fresh controversy over the use of genetically-modified crops after launching his most outspoken attack on the technique to date.

Rejecting claims that the use of GM crops could benefit Third World struggling with drought or low yields, Prince Charles pointed to the “truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming in part from the failure of many GM crop varieties”.

His comments put the Prince once again on a collision course with UK farmers and the biotech industry, which supports the use of modified crops to address rising commodity prices.

However, according to the Daily Mail Charles said there was evidence showing that “a growing world population can be fed most successfully in the long term by agricultural systems that manage the land within environmental limits”.

Earlier this year the Prince, who operates his own organic farm, sparked furious debate when he suggested in an interview that GM experimentation would cause the “biggest disaster environmentally of all time”.