Australian farmers and consumers can find the information they need to make informed decisions about GM canola in a new report released today by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran.
Mr McGauran said that GM Canola – an information package, commissioned by the Australian Government,brought together a wide range of current information.
“Covering everything from regulation, supply chain management and market acceptance of GM crops to agronomic, economic and legal liability issues at farm level, this package is intended to make a well-informed contribution to the current debate about the GM crops,” Mr McGauran said.
“With reviews of the moratoriums under way in four states, Australian farmers will potentially start growing GM canola from 2008.”
Mr McGauran said today the report found that Australian farmers stood to gain significantly from the introduction of GM technology.
“The study concludes that Australia’s main competitor, Canada, has been growing GM canola for 10 years without any appreciable loss of market share or prices, while enjoying significant agronomic benefits,” Mr McGauran said.
“It also found that GM canola offers some solutions to the problems facing conventional canola in Australia and is likely to make a valuable contribution to farming systems once farmers are able to access the technology and adopt it to their individual circumstances.”
Key points in the report are:
● Canola is an important crop in Australian winter crop rotations;
● Canola has benefits for farming enterprises beyond the direct returns the crop generates. Other crops in the rotation benefit from the weed control and disease management options canola provides;
● Weed resistance to conventional canola chemicals and disease pressures are threatening canola’s contribution to farming systems in Australia.
The report was produced by the consultancy firm ACIL Tasman.
“This report adds further weight to the argument that State Governments should immediately lift their moratoriums on GM crops so that Australian farmers can have access to the benefits of this technology,” Mr McGauran said.
“Australian farmers are extremely efficient and innovative producers, but to remain internationally competitive, need to be able to compete.”
The report is available at http://www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/biotechnology
End media release.