|Multi-acre GM wheat trial madness in Oz (19/4/2007)|
GM WATCH comment: Are nearly 10 acres of GM wheat trials really what Australian farmers need after the export melt down that's hit the US rice industry - a direct result of contamination from GM trials, and when even Monsanto has backed off GM wheat because of the massive opposition of the global food industry?
And the real joke is that conventional plant breeding is already starting to deliver the goods on the kind of drought and salinity tolerance that pro-GM lobbyists are always claiming only GM can provide. And traditional breeding's also doing it faster and more economically - just without all the misleading hype!
Just over a month ago a letter in the Australian newspaper The Age spelt it out:
WHAT are the supposed benefits of GM crops? Vaccines in bananas? These do not exist. Vitamin A in rice? This does not exist. Grains with omega 3 fish oil? These do not exist. Drought-resistant crops? These have been developed, but with trait-selective, non-GM methods. GM varieties are at least 10 years away. Productivity gains? In 2005, the Canadian Government's rural assistance was $1.6 billion. Its canola markets were lost to Europe due to its GM status. In more than 10 years of production, with billions of dollars spent on research, there are only two commercial GM traits. The second generation of GM crops has failed to materialise. As shoppers, farmers and the food industry around the world reject GM seeds, crops and foods, it would be a folly to remove GM bans...
Public comment may prompt GM licence changes
Australia's gene technology regulator says public comment could force changes to the licence for two proposed genetically modified (GM) wheat crops.
Victoria's Primary Industries Department wants to grow GM drought-tolerant wheat at two sites near Horsham and Mildura in the state's west.
Federal regulator Dr Sue Meek says it will be the first time these types of wheat have been tested, and a series of containment measures around the sites have been proposed.
Dr Meek says the proposed licence for the trial is now open for public comment.
"At this stage in our assessment process we haven't identified any risks to people or the environment, but obviously part of the process of the consultation is to have people have a look at our assessment, see what they think, look at the licence conditions that we've proposed and see whether they're adequate for the purpose," she said.
Horsham Mayor Gary Bird says he believes the trials have the support of farmers and councillors.
"The trials are under 10 acres - they're only a small bit of ground - and it'll be interesting to see how they do succeed," he said.
"As a group I'm sure that we will acknowledge that this is a direction that we have to take with these dry years, and all sit back and see how successful it does become."