Anti-GM ire at Redman tour

31 Jul, 2009 09:29 AM
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7
 

ANTI-GM campaigners say they are bitterly disappointed that Agriculture Minister Terry Redman failed to meet key opponents of GM crops during his recent tour of the United States and Canada.

But Mr Redman has retorted he did speak with non-GM croppers and they were much more relaxed about their GM crops than their WA counterparts.

Acting Shadow Agriculture Minister Ken Travers said that in a statement released before his tour, Mr Redman said he would be meeting farmers and marketers of both GM and non-GM canola in Saskatchewan. “He has broken that promise.”

North Greenbushes woman Tracy Lansdell of the GM Free Consumers Network said that the decision was disappointing.

“At the most critical time in securing a GM free future for WA, I am so disappointed with the outcome of this so-called ‘fact finding’ visit,” she said.

“Mr Redman has let us down once again by being completely blinkered in his approach to the GM decision. Wining and dining with multinational companies is not fact finding.”

Mr Travers said Shadow Agriculture Minister Mick Murray had received complaints from Canadian anti-GM crop farmers who were denied meetings with the minister during his recent visit.

“At least two written invitations were extended to the minister by the National Farmers Union to meet in person when he visited Saskatchewan but he could only agree to a phone conversation,” he said. “This does not constitute balanced fact finding a promise made by Mr Redman.

“It is extraordinary for the minister to spend thousands of dollars on an overseas visit and not hear all sides of the story.”

Mr Travers said it appeared the minister had focused on meeting industry heavyweights instead of farmer’s organisations.

“Mr Redman claimed he was going on a fact finding mission, but he seems to have met only with organisations who share his support for the GM crop trials,” he said.

“He was offered a meeting with the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate and a farmer who was sued by Monsanto but he knocked it back.

“It is inexcusable that he can make decisions that affect farmers, neighbouring properties, organic farmers, trade relations and consumers without listening to all the evidence.”

Mr Travers said the minister had haphazardly entered into the trials without considering the long-term effects on the industry.

“Mr Redman has gone ahead against the wishes of a majority of the State’s farming community, food industry and a growing list of local governments,” he said.

“The only view Mr Redman is interested in is his own.

“He has ignored a disallowance motion that passed in Parliament, he has ignored his own constituents, he has ignored the numerous protests on the front steps of Parliament House and now he has ignored the cries of anti-GM crop farmers in the US.”

Mr Redman was not contactable yesterday. But he said earlier, in an interview with the ABC, that “once again, the Opposition are peddling misinformation as I certainly did speak with non-GM farmers on my trip to the US and Canada.

“I also went out of my way to set up a suitable time for a phone call with the head of the National Farmers Union in Canada. I phoned three times but he failed to answer.

“The non-GM farmers I spoke to on my trip were very open about their different reasons for growing non-GM crops. One thought he could get a premium for non-GM in a niche market and others were not keen to pay royalties to big companies. But none were concerned about others growing GM crops, it was a personal choice for them.”

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Donnybrook-Bridgetown MailSource: http://www.donnybrookmail.com.au
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READER COMMENTS

Fran
3/08/2009 5:52:23 AM, on Farm Weekly

Why doesn't Terry Redman list the names of the non-GM farmers he spoke to?
Hebe
3/08/2009 9:41:44 AM, on Farm Weekly

Hey Fran...call me cynical but those were my very thoughts! You'd have to be Blind Freddy not to see that this state government is not going to stop its pro GM agenda. As they keep telling us...it was an election promise, but what they would like us to forget is that it was only the 38% polling Liberals that promised GM food crops. All other parties, including Redman's Nationals, were opposed to GM canola, so essentially 62% of the electorate voted against it!
Andrew
3/08/2009 10:41:31 AM, on Farm Weekly

Having just done a tour of some of the GM trial sites in WA, I think it will be some time yet before we see GM round-up ready canola adopted by WA farmers...the system needs lots of agronomy to be successful...WA has non-wetting soils which cause varying emergence of problem grass weeds like ryegrass and wild oast...mostly after the window for spraying the GM crop with roundup has past...requiring additional selective grass herbicide applications...and additional costs... WA farmers have weed resistance issues ... which GM canola offers a small hope of overcoming...Unfortunately WA farmers will require GM technology in the future to remain viable...and the big chemical companies know that.
Susan Anderson
3/08/2009 2:40:17 PM, on Farm Weekly

Monsanto must be laughing all the way to the bank...
amicus curiae
3/08/2009 5:29:47 PM, on Farm Weekly

Mr Redman's quotes on supposed comments by Non GM growers does not ring true! Any non GM farmer is likely to lose organic status if he has a similar species, growing nearby. If for eg he is an Australian apiarist he can NOT sell to the largest buyer at all! And as for the ??how many?? others, who are supposed to have been unwilling to pay royalties, well, they will!! By paying royalties regardless of their initial planting if ANY GM material is found, in their harvest, and Mon/Dow/ whatever are REAL good at finding any traces, so they can charge and sue. The facts Mr Redman are after is how to bully, coerce, and manipulate the truth just like the massive agri businesses do in USA! Their land and the quality of their food is a matter of national concern. USDA is a partner with Monsanto in OWNING terminator Genes, unbiased?? My Butt!
foxylady
3/08/2009 11:11:17 PM, on Farm Weekly

Why doesn't Mr Redman take notice of what has happened in Canada and take notice of what Prince Charles is saying about GM in England and wake up to himself.
boycottcanola
5/08/2009 6:44:21 AM, on Farm Weekly

A few truths that would get in the way of a good story... - Shoppers want GM-free! -Australia has recieved a premium price for its GM-free canola over the North American GM canola. - With NSW & Vic growing and mixing GM & non-GM together, WA has an advantage of GM-free status $$$. - WA has weed resistance problems already. In the Canadian prairies volunteer GM Canola plants are sprayed with heavy duty toxic herbicides. - Segregation is impossible and will eventually destroy the choice for GM-free canola farmers to grow. - The technology and fees are expensive and the yield is lower than conventional varieties. - Monsanto and Bayer have incredible power over farmers, as seen in Can/USA suing farmers with contaminated crops. - Independent testing shows adverse health effects when GM canola was fed to rats - more testing is needed.

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