EXCERPT: "Where Australia has been benefitted is that our rapeseed is GM-free, free of genetically modified organisms, so we have been their preferred supplier into that EU market for the past 18 months or so." - Richard Koch, the Managing Director of Profarmer speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
COMMENT: GM firms and pro-GM lobbyists have been putting Australia's states and farming organisations under intense pressure to abandon their support for a moratorium on GM canola (rapeseed).
Only last week a pro-GM lobbyist claimed that GM "is a technology that we have to have to be able to compete on the world stage."
Another well-known pro-GM lobbyist has been telling Australia's farmers that Australia is "being left behind in the GM gold rush."
All of which makes these comments from Richard Koch, the Managing Director of Profarmer newsletter, particularly interesting. Mr Koch was asked by ABC to make predictions about crops and prices for Australia's current winter crop. Mr Koch was generally pessimistic about prices and the season ahead but there was one notable exception.
And what he told ABC's Kerry Lonergan - see below - about how being GM free is helping Australia escape very low oilseed prices, makes clear that the pro-GM lobbyists are simply lying about the impact of lifting the GM moratorium.
By contrast, as Julie Newman from the Network of Concerned Farmers recently pointed out, the supposed GM gold rush is in reality fools' gold: "The Canadian grain and oilseed sector has recently received $515 million in subsidies because higher cost, lower commodity price and little or no improvement in yield [from GM] does not equate to a benefit to farmers, only scientists and [corporate] investors." http://www.non-gm-farmers.com/news_details.asp?ID=2811
Pro-farmer chief predicts winter gloom
ABC, 23 July 2006 http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2006/s1692269.htm
KERRY LONERGAN: ...I want to ask about Australian canola, which remains at an extraordinary price. Why is Australian canola in such demand?
RICHARD KOCH: I wouldn't say it is an extraordinary price, Kerry. It has probably got back to levels of a few years ago. The reason why we are seeing the big price recovery from very low prices about 18 months ago is the EU biodiesel demand. They've structured their biodiesel industry in the EU to support their local rapeseed industry. Their biodiesel demand has been growing at a rate that they haven't been able to keep up with in terms of their local production. So they are now hunting around the world looking for surplus supplies of rapeseed. Where Australia has been benefitted is that our rapeseed is GM-free, free of genetically modified organisms, so we have been their preferred supplier into that EU market for the past 18 months or so. So, given the forecast for continued growth in biodiesel consumption in Europe, we would expect that there will be strong demand for both Australian and also Canadian canola for years to come.
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