Genetically modified crops ban to be extended in South Australia

South Australia will extend a moratorium on genetically modified crops until at least 2019.

SA is the only mainland state maintaining a ban on GM crop production and trials.

Government Minister Leon Bignell said the state’s GM-free status gave primary producers a competitive advantage in key overseas markets, including Japan.

He said a continuing ban would help protect premium food and wine production and allow grain producers to attract higher prices.

“We’ve got a strong reputation not just around Australia but around the world for producing clean, green premium food and we think having a moratorium on the growing of GM crops really helps us in that end,” he said.

“People are paying a $50 a tonne premium and we think there’s a lot more advantages to having the moratorium in place than to lift it.”

The Opposition said it too would ensure there was a ban on genetically modified crops until at least 2019 if it took office next March.

But Opposition agriculture spokesman David Ridgway said a ban needed regular review to ensure restrictions on growing GM crops did not put local farmers at a disadvantage.

“We support a moratorium but it needs to be monitored,” he said.

“The Government claims that we get benefits, more dollars per tonne, it enhances our reputation – it should be continually monitored just to make sure our farmers and our producers are getting the benefits the Government claims that we are getting a market advantage for our quality food and wine.”

ABC News, 7 Nov 2013

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