Pure Hawkes Bay submits to the Hawkes Bay Regional Council and urges them to keep produce free from GMO by Caitlin Nobes, HB Today

Local growers could get premium prices for their products if Hawke’s Bay was officially free of genetically modified organisms, a lobby group says.

Pure Hawke’s Bay members addressed the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council as part of annual plan hearings on Wednesday 8 June.

Local orchardist Scott Lawson said there were significant advantages to being able to label their exports as GMO free.

“People are willing to pay a premium for GMO-free products,” he said. “We, as a community, believe we need to take responsibility for that.”

Whangerei councils had started the process of banning outdoor field trials, which could contaminate other land.

“GMOs jump fences,” Mr Lawson said. “That would be a problem not just for neighbouring properties but the whole region.”

There was a significant cost to introducing the policy, but if the regional council worked with Whangerei and other local councils that could be reduced.

The group’s stance was not anti-science, Mr Lawson said.

“We don’t wish to argue the science of it, just the marketing side. This is the economic reality of things.”

The potential gains from modifications such as disease control would not outweigh the benefit of being seen as GMO free.

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