WAFF wants Esperance GM trials now

23 Feb, 2006 01:03 PM

WAFARMERS has called for an end to the state GM crops moratorium in its 2006 GMO Policy.

Decided at the WAFarmers General Section Council Meeting last week, the policy shows WAFarmers considers the moratorium a barrier to progress, markets and profit.

The policy states WAFarmers wants the moratorium lifted when markets clearly indicate their preparedness to accept GM produce.

WAFarmers policy director Andy McMillan said the group did not expect any immediate ministerial action, but was sending a clear message to the decision-makers about what farmers wanted.

"We thoroughly surveyed our members and nine of our 10 geographical zones voted overwhelmingly in support of lifting the moratoriums," Mr McMillan said.

"We have support for farmer-sized GM canola trials of 10ha in the Esperance zone to provide evidence of the benefit, or otherwise, of GM canola grown in WA."

The policy supports the 10ha trials and continued, well-contained trials subject to the resolution of any legal liability issues to protect existing industries.

The policy also shows WAFarmers' support for the Primary Industries Ministerial Council decision on tolerance levels last year, with WAFarmers supporting levels of 0.9pc in crops and 0.5pc in seeds.

But Mr McMillan said the policy stipulated the State Government must fully support and recognise the recommendations of the Ministerial GM Industry Reference Group.

The policy supports the Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) taking responsibility for GMO food safety issues and human and environmental health issues.

WAFarmers has called for the Federal and State governments to provide clear direction on the issues of co-existence and economic and legal liability.

Mr McMillan said while 10ha trials would not show much, they would certainly show more than a laboratory trial would.

He admitted there had been some tense moments in discussing the policy with the general section council members.

The WAFarmers GMO policy is subject to further review in February 2007.


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