Australian state's "mad" push for GM crops / GM "not an option" for Ireland (14/5/2007)

1.Ireland: GM would spell end of farming in Co. Wicklow
2.New Zealand Set to Benefit from Australian State's "Mad" Push for GM Crops
3.Australia: Organics industry rejects GM canola crop report
4.Australia: Remember GM is bankrolled by Big Agribusiness

EXTRACT: "There are no markets around the world that will allow products to be called organic if they have a level of contamination from GM products..." (item 3)


1.Ireland: GM would spell end of farming in Co. Wicklow
Wicklow Committee to Elect Joe Behan (election flyer), 14 May 2007

[Note: Councillor Joe Behan, Chairman of Wicklow Co. Council, is currently running as a Fianna Fail candidate in the Irish General Election. - Ed. gmfreeireland]

The day that GM (genetically modified) food makes an appearance in Wicklow is the day that Wicklow farming closes down.

The future of Irish farming is dependent entirely on our farmers' ability to breed and rear top-of-the-range livestock and produce high quality dairy and horticultural produce.

Our high reputation for premium agricultural produce, with all the quality and traceability guarantees which this entails, would be destroyed instantly if the country was to become a GM centre of any kind.

GM is simply not an option for Ireland. There is nothing to discuss.


2.New Zealand Set to Benefit from Australian State's "Mad" Push for GM Crops
Press release, GE Free NZ, 14 May 2007

New Zealand is set to benefit from its GE- free production system, if pressure from the biotech industry and the Federal government results in GM crops being planted in Australia.

A Fairfax news report from Australia says GE crops could be growing in Victoria within the next year, and that other states may be pressurised to drop their moritoria on planting GE crops.

But the decision to release GE crops would be seen as 'mad' by overseas manufacturers. Any planting of crops will add to existing problems with GE contamination in Australia which has already been linked to field-trials of GE canola. The contamination has worried exporters and farmers who have secured export-deals by being able to supply GE-free commodities.

"GE crops will inevitably cause contamination of the Australian food supply and would be a tragedy for consumers, farmers and manufacturers exporting to a world demanding clean, GE-free produce," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

"It is just as well New Zealand remains free of commercial GE crops because the export demand for GE-free food is not going away," says Mr Carapiet.

Trade NZ and other government agencies should be contacting overseas companies now in order to secure supply-deals for GE-free produce out of New Zealand.

"The global marketing opportunity for New Zealand is clear," says Mr Carapiet. "Failure by officials responsible for exports to secure supply deals would be a betrayal of the national interest."

GE Free NZ believe government agencies must invest now in scoping the overseas opportunities for New Zealand as a supplier of GE-free conventional and organic produce.

Jon Carapiet 0210 507 681

Victoria Tipped To Lift GM Crop Ban
NewsRoom.co.nz Agency Story at 8:14 am, 13 May 2007
The Australian state of Victoria is expected to lift a ban on planting genetically modified food crops.
The ban could be lifted as early as February, paving the way for new food varieties in supermarkets, Fairfax newspapers said.
The Bracks government is preparing to scrap the moratorium that stops farmers using GM products.
The pressure has come from farm groups and the federal government.
Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran says it is time to move on.
Other states are expected to follow suit.
GM supporters say a surge in agricultural productivity could happen, with farmers able to plant crops resistant to weeds, insects and salinity and that need less water. [call me up in dreamland - ed]

(c) NewsRoom 2007


3.Organics industry rejects GM canola crop report
ABC Rural, May 11 2007

The organics industry has rejected a report which suggests they would not be greatly affected by the growing of commercial genetically modified (GM) canola crops in Australia.

The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE) says organic canola farmers already have to separate their crops from canola grown with the use of pesticides.

But Organic Federation of Australia (OFA) spokesman Andre Leu disputes ABARE's conclusion that export markets would accept a low level of GM contamination in organic products.

"There are no markets around the world that will allow products to be called organic if they have a level of contamination from GM products, so organic growers would lose their premium on the market," he said.


4.Remember GM is bankrolled by Big Agribusiness
The Age, May 13 2007

GENETIC modification. What is it and will it hurt us? That question has suddenly come closer to home with the news that Victoria is set to break ranks with other states by ending a moratorium on GM.

First, a definition: GM is the insertion of a gene from one species to another. This is not the selective or cross-breeding of plants and animals, practised for eons. Rather, it is the radical re-arranging of the genetic building blocks of life. Such research is at the frontier of knowledge, and includes huge advances like decoding the human genome - undoubtedly a milestone in curing illnesses.

But that's not to be confused with what is happening down on the farm. The proposed end of the GM ban in Victoria is about agriculture. Cultivating canola or cabbages might seem dull compared with human genome research but, in fact, it is more contentious because ultimately it's about the food we eat - the right to choose whether to eat genetically modified food or not.

The debate is also about which corporations will control the world's food. Even if we ignore the ethical and health issues that GM's opponents raise, there could be sound commercial motives for keeping Australia GM free.

If overseas markets are prepared to pay dearly for GM-free food, Australia is in pole position to exploit its "clean green" image. The claimed advantages of GM crops have been well-aired. They include higher yields and oil content and herbicide resistance.

Now the pro-GM publicity machine is highlighting the potential to create crops that use less water.

Such claims might prove true but we should be clear about one thing: GM is bankrolled by huge multi-national corporations that stand to make huge money. That is why they can afford the best spin doctors and lobbyists that money can buy. To ask Big Agribusiness about GM is a little like consulting Big Tobacco about the risks of smoking.

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