Ban on GM canola must stay (21/8/2007)

NOTE: Great list of points.


Ban on GM canola must stay: BFA
New Queensland Register, 21 August 2007

The Biological Farmers Australia group has lodged a submission this week requesting the continuation of the moratoriums on GM crops.

Their submission has gone to the SA, NSW & Victorian Governments which are conducting a review of the moratoria prohibiting the planting of genetically modified (GM) canola.

Scott Kinnear, spokesperson for BFA, said, "The BFA submission comprehensively makes the case for continuing the moratoria on the planting of GM crops in Australia."

The submission, titled Genetic Engineering - A Review of the Evidence, takes a critical look at the USA and Canadian experience with GM canola.

It contrasts this with European and Asian markets and Australian export opportunities.

The following points represent only a selection of the points made by the BFA in their submission:

* The continuation of the moratorium produces security for the growth of Australian farm business including the rapidly growing organic sector.

* The global crop area of GM canola has not increased since 1999

* The claims by GM proponents that we will fall behind and be unable to compete have no foundation and ironically bear the hall marks of emotion and hysteria that the anti GM sector is accused of.

* The GM canola being pushed for commercial release is not drought or salt tolerant and will not use less fertiliser.

* The USA and Canada pay billions of dollars of direct subsidies to farmers and this comes at the expense of health and education spending.

* North American farm incomes have fallen disastrously.

* Australia remains, of the three players on the global market, the only GM free canola producer

* Strict labelling laws in the EU makes our canola the preferred product for food and biofuel use.

* The premiums cannot be denied: Australian canola wins by up to $US120 per tonne, and an average of $US68 more over 2 years than in the previous 10 years.

*Consumer resistance has increased, even according to loaded opinion surveys.

* It is not just organic vs GM canola. Commercial release of GM crops will affect organic and non- GM farming across the board, including grains and stock feeds.

* The cost of segregation has been conservatively estimated again at 5-15pc, even at high admix thresholds and will need to be borne by the GE free and organic farm sector, not the GE sector.

* Yield gains are not 20pc higher as claimed but are more likely to be nearer 1pc.

* The GM moratorium is not going, in fact some permitted GM varieties are being withdrawn from the approved list etc.

* Many more processors and retailers now have absolute GM free purchasing policies and marketing claims (Goodman Fielder, etc).

* The US has lost markets for its organic products due to GM contamination.

* The main impediment to the growth of the organic sector is lack of supply, which means if certain crop specifications cannot be guaranteed (as in Canada), opportunities cannot be developed.

* We do not oppose biotechnology, but fully support the use of non GM biotechnology to assist in progressing desirable traits such as drought and salt tolerant crops.

* There is a growing alliance of farmers and consumers in North America and worldwide opposed to GM wheat being released there next, while litigation is continuing surrounding existing GE crops.

* The submission can be downloaded from the BFA website, www.bfa.com.au

SOURCE: Breaking national grains news, from Rural Press weekly rural weekly papers, updated daily on FarmOnline.

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