A DECISION with the potential to allow producers access to genetically modified (GM) cotton in WA¹s

15 Nov, 2006 08:45 PM
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Despite approval from OGTR ‹ the federal GM regulator ‹ the decision will not provide any immediate benefit for agricultural producers in north WA because of the State Government¹s policy on GM production.

While the approval provides scope for GM cotton to be grown as part of the Ord River project in the Kimberley region, Producers Forum WA chairman John Snooke said he was optimistic that the State Government would lift its GM restriction to allow GM cotton to be used in the area.

³A huge amount of money has been expended around the Ord River project, and it is up to the State Government to ensure that the project realises its full potential,² Mr Snooke said.

³At this time, there seems to be no better option in environmental and economic terms than GM cotton.²

Mr Snooke said Bolgard II, one of the varieties approved by OGTR, had reduced pesticide use by up to 75pc in cotton.

³This helps the environment, helps the grower bottom line, and makes for a cleaner, greener final product,² Mr Snooke said.

³How anyone can object to this technology is beyond me.²

Mr Snooke questioned the importance of having the OGTR make such decisions.

³If we are not going to believe the OGTR when it says that a crop is safe for the environment and safe for humans what is the point of having it?² he said.

Mr Snooke called on State Agriculture Minister Kim Chance to end his government¹s moratorium on GM crops and was supported by the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA).

PGA Western Graingrowers and Argifood Awareness Australia board member Graeme Smith said the OGTR¹s decision was a clean victory for science over base politics and fear mongering.

³GM cotton has been a success in Australia over the past 10 years,² Mr Smith said.

³There are not too many people involved in agriculture who do not know the evidence of massive reductions in chemical usage and associated operational cost reductions.

³This is a technology that the rest of the world is adopting, while we risk being left behind.²

Mr Smith sounded a warning to the State Government over its moratorium on GM crops.

³Those politicians who continue to support the moratorium will leave WA agriculture as an international backwater, not as a world leader, as we have been in the past,² Mr Smith said.

³They deserve the scorn of every Western Australian if they continue to stop growers deciding to grow a crop approved as safe for humans and the environment.²

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