GM and non-GM on Redman's itinerary

10 Jul, 2009 02:00 AM
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AGRICULTURE and Food Minister Terry Redman will investigate all angles of the use of Genetically Modified (GM) crops during his visit to the US and Canada this month.

Mr Redman will meet and discuss the issue with growers and farm groups for and against GM crop production.

Mr Redman is using the whistlestop tour to gather current information on the international state of play for the production and marketing systems associated with GM crops and biofuels.

Mr Redman's draft itinerary of the trip shows he will meet with senior officials from the US Agriculture Department (USDA) and the US Wheat Associates, on the first leg of the trip this week.

After departing Monday, his first scheduled meeting was in Washington yesterday with the USDA chief economist Jo Glauber, followed by another meeting with USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Jim Miller.

Those meetings were followed by further meetings with Austrade and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials.

During the later stages of the tour, Mr Redman and his staff will discuss GM and biofuels policy in Canada, where the majority of canola grown and exported is GM.

Those discussions will include face to face meetings with GM canola growers and non-GM canola growers in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

He will also visit Monsanto and biofuel facilities in St Louis, Missouri, in the US, and hold meetings with officials from the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association in Ottawa, Canada.

Other agricultural issues, relevant to Australia, the US and Canada, will also be targeted during the two-week tour.

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READER COMMENTS

Hebe
10/07/2009 9:56:11 AM, on Farm Weekly

Are we to believe that Redman will travel half way around the world, listen to some 'non GM farmers' and be convinced that that is not the path to take when he has already ignored tens of thousands of petitioners (including many farmers) in his own back yard? Add to this local government decision makers and Upper House votes all agreeing that GM crops are not welcome here. This is blatant tokenism. What he should be doing is seeing if GM free (which is not the same as non GM) and Organic canola can exist alongside GM canola, and whether consumers still have the choice to buy GM free canola based products. The sooner transparent GM labelling is introduced the sooner we will see just how successful this new technology really is.
amicus curiae
13/07/2009 6:51:07 PM, on Farm Weekly

In all that travel, one group of non GM growers, and a whole slew of Pro GM and big money, ideas, and carefully groomed and prepared farm tours! Pity he can't or won't? Go to Polyface Farm, or ask some of the many farmers sued and harassed by the big agri cabal. Mr Redman will be remembered, if that's his goal, but it will NOT be kindly remembrances, after our crops are corrupted and we develop all the problems USA farms have! Not progressive or intellingent, just pigheaded and ill-advised! If we used the natural gas resources, our continent produces, instead of selling it off...well biofuels become daft. And GM or not, growing water using crops for fuel is plain stupid! Algae is more productive. And it won't corrupt our land or food.
Elbee
13/07/2009 9:57:37 PM, on Farm Weekly

It is fortunate that Mr Redman has chosen to visit Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in Canada. We hope that he has the opportunity while there to speak with Darrin Qualman who is Director of Research for Canada's National Farmers' Union (NFU). During an interview with "Grain" in October 2007, Mr Qualman said, "GM seeds are a key part of the maximum-production, max-technology, max-input, max-energy-use, max-cost system. Canadian net farm income over the past 20 years has been falling. Today, it stands at its lowest level ever. Were it not for massive taxpayer-funded support programmes, off-farm income, access to credit, etc., farming in Canada would have to cease. The transnationals that dominate the rest of the chain – energy, chemicals, seeds, processing, retailing – have managed to set themselves up to reap 110 per cent of the profits that would normally remain on our farms. GM seeds do not increase profitability. They do not increase yield. They do not decrease costs. So why do farmers use them? GM seeds allow you to farm massive acreage. So one of the primary effects of GM seeds and the type of farming they facilitate is to reduce dramatically the number of farmers.
Biologist
17/07/2009 1:57:11 PM, on Farm Weekly

Minister Redman is to be applauded in that he is going to see for himself the amazing success of GM crops in north America, rather than be intimidated by a minority of ill-advised locals who have closed minds. I don't think that WA farmers want to live in a backwater and let their competitors in the world markets leave them behind. GM crops are here to stay, and they will increasingly provide real benefits to farmers and consumers. If you want expensive food of poorer quality then stick to non GM - you can do that, but don't stop progressive and informed farmers and consumers having the choice to grow GM crops that are increasingly needed to feed the world and meet the challenges of climate change, biofuels and biosecurity.
Vickii Wilson
29/07/2009 11:52:14 AM, on Farm Weekly

He did not view all angles. In fact he just went to the head offices of Monsanto and the pro-GM sector. This is a farce and he should be ashamed of himself.

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