1.Japanese consumer activists lobby Australian Government
2.SA farmers say keep GM ban
3.GM crop trial axed because companies won't supply seed
NOTE: For all the spinning, perticuarly by the South Australian Farmers Federation, there's no disguising the fact that most farmers want to keep the GM ban (item 2). Something confirmed by other polls of Australian farmers.
EXTRACT: More than 70pc of South East respondents said they would not grow GM crops. More than half of the survey respondents believed growing GM crops would destroy the State's 'clean, green' image, with 53pc thinking the east/west divide between States growing GMs and those resisting adoption of the technology would affect Australia's export markets in the long term. (item 2)
1.No! GMO Request at Australian Embassy
Consumers Union of Japan, February 26 2008.
Keisuke Amagasa, Namiko Ono and other consumer activists visited the Australian Embassy in Tokyo on February 21, 2008 to deliver Japanese consumers' request regarding genetically modified (GM) foods.
They asked the Australian government, on a national level, to firmly maintain a strict GM-free policy. Australia has such a valuable ecosystem, which is unparalleled in the world, so GM crops are a real threat to the country’s unique biodiversity. They expressed the request that GM crops should be eliminated, and not accepted.
They also strongly requested that Australia makes sure not to let GM canola to be cultivated now or in the future.
Read the letter of request to Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Tony Burke (pdf):
'Please Stop GM Canola Cultivation in Australia'
2.Stock Journal poll: SA farmers say keep GM ban
By PAULA THOMPSON North Queensland Register, 28 February 2008
Most of South Australia's graingrowers can see economic benefits from having access to genetically-modified crops but the majority would not support the moratorium on growing them lifted.
This is the result of a Rural Press Marketing Survey done exclusively for the Stock Journal.
Only 36pc of respondents supported the moratorium being lifted, with the strongest support coming from the Mid North and Yorke Peninsula. More than 54pc said they did not support lifting the ban.
But more than half of respondents believed having access to GM crops would offer economic benefits, and 49pc believed there would be agronomic benefits.
More than a third of those surveyed said they would grow them if given the choice but 49pc said they would not. More than 70pc of South East respondents said they would not grow GM crops.
More than half of the survey respondents believed growing GM crops would destroy the State's 'clean, green' image, with 53pc thinking the east/west divide between States growing GMs and those resisting adoption of the technology would affect Australia's export markets in the long term.
There was a significant undecided vote in the survey, with 21pc unsure about whether there would be any economic benefits.
South Australian Farmers Federation grains council chairman, Peter Treloar, says a number of growers are concerned about market acceptance of GMs.
'This is what I would read into the survey results: growers are not yet convinced that consumers have accepted GM products,' he says.
'The results suggest growers generally can see agronomic, environmental and economic benefits in growing GMs - but they still need to have their fears allayed in regard to consumer sentiment.'
Mr Treloar says the federation wants the GM moratorium lifted in SA.
'The grains council has a policy looking to give growers choice, so given that we will be looking to demonstrate the benefits of lifting the moratorium to the government in the future,' he says.
3.WA GM crop trial axed
By COLIN BETTLES
North Queensland Register, 28 February 2008
[Western Australia's] first broadacre trial of genetically modified (GM) canola has been called off after seed companies refused to supply the seed to WA for the critical research project.
The 2.5ha trial was to be held at the Esperance Downs Research Station this season.
It was to be co-ordinated by the South-East Premium Wheat Growers Association (SEPWA) with the science co-ordinated by Kalyx Agriculture director, Peter Burgess.
It was intended that a small plot variety evaluation and the small plot agronomy trials would be used in conjunction with large-scale demonstration blocks to measure the performance of several different GM varieties compared to current grains.
However, the entire project was put on hold last week because of the unavailability of GM seed.
A application for a smaller variety-style trial was submitted by SEPWA to the WA Government last week.
The trial work, and subsequent information it will provide on the performance of GMs under local conditions, is considered essential to help counter the volume of campaigning from both pro-GM and anti-GM crusaders.
SEPWA president, Chris Reichstein, says he is expecting an answer for a new application in the next fortnight.
Mr Reichstein says the application to grow GM canola on a smaller trial site would make it easier to manage the research project in WA's current political climate.
He says a new application is needed because the GM seed companies have gone cold on supplying seed for the original broadacre trial, but this is not a big setback.
Mr Reichstein says SEPWA is now hoping the new GM trial will go ahead this season with some support from the seed companies.
* From Farm Weekly, WA's market leading weekly farming news package.
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