SA won’t ‘jeopardise’ state with GM crops

Peter Hemphill
Weekly Times, December 18 2012

SOUTH Australia has stared down the Federal Government over its ban on genetically modified crops.

The Federal Government had asked states with GM moratoria which had not reviewed their positions within the past three years to do so by the end of 2014.

State Agriculture Minister Gail Gago has defiantly turned down the request.

“I have written to the Federal Government and told them that we will not be doing this,” Ms Gago said.

“South Australia’s glean green food bowl gives us a competitive edge in the market.

“Our non-GM crops attract greater market prices and the exceptional quality of SA’s food bowl is synonymous with the state.

“We will not be doing anything to jeopardise this.”

Ms Gago said SA remained firmly committed to the ban until September 1, 2019.

Victoria, NSW [New South Wales] and Western Australia allow the planting of commercial GM canola crops.

Ms Gago said her decision was also based on concerns in the community about the long-term impact of GM foods.

It came as anti-GM lobby group Gene Ethics said NSW sales of GM canola had fallen to 7 per cent of total seed sales.

Duchembegarra farmer Bob Mackley said GrainCorp and Australian Bulk Alliance had cut the number of their storages receiving GM canola this season.

Mr Mackley said GrainCorp received GM canola at 12 of its 80 Victorian grain storages in 2009 but it was now down to eight receival sites.

He said ABA was only taking GM canola at two of its 15 storages.

Mr Mackley said GM crops had not delivered on promises of more productive, drought and salt-tolerant crops.

“Farmers like me choose from the many good non-GM canola varieties available now because they give better returns than the GM types and are more profitable,” he said.

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