THE Organic Growers Association of WA (OGAWA) staged a silent vigil on the steps of Parliament House last week, to voice their concerns against the growing of genetically modified (GM) canola in WA this year.
OGAWA vice-president Dr Maggie Lilith, said her organisation's members were extremely upset and angry about the GM plantings.
She said they were gravely concerned about being exposed to GM contamination and faced the potential loss of their organic accreditation because of the controversial canola crops.
Under Australian organic certification requirements, the use of GM inputs, growing GM crops and the presence of GM in certified organic product is prohibited.
Dr Lilith said these certification standards also stated that GM contamination may alter organic status.
She said organic growers have been left to fend for themselves, despite repeated requests for more information on the GM canola trials and for issues such as segregation and transparency to be addressed.
"Our members have been told that there are no buffer requirements set for organic properties from GM trials and that the onus is on them to protect their own accreditation," she said.
"But organic growers are unable to protect themselves due to the proximity of some of these trials to their farms.
"The WA government is not protecting our organic farmers and our premium organic markets."