GM invaluable: CropLife

08 May, 2013 02:00 AM
Comments
29
 

CROPLIFE Australia claims that genetically modified (GM) crops have led to an income boost of $595 million in Australia since they were first introduced in 1996.

Australian farmers have access to GM cotton and canola.

CropLife, the nation’s biotech peak body, is basing its claims on a report from PG Economics.

Chief executive at CropLife, Matthew Cossey, said there were many benefits from GM technology, including lower input costs and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

ABARES executive director Paul Morris has highlighted Australia's poor global ranking (13th) in the adoption of GM technology, including State moratoriums on the use or trial of GM crops, as an example of how local farmers had slipped behind many of their key competitors when they needed to focus hard on improving drought resistance in crops and pastures and improving livestock genetics.

"There is an expectation in government and the community that a fantastic largess from the trade opportunities opening up around Australia will land in our lap," Mr Morris said.

"In reality we need to have a focus on productivity and smart thinking on farms to ensure we are producing better returns."

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said at the ABARES annual outlook conference in March that he’d encourage everyone to engage with the national regulatory framework on cropping biotechnology.

Minister Ludwig said a good framework already existed for allowing GM crops to be produced in Australia, through the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR).

“Crop biotechnology has also contributed to significantly reducing the release of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural practices," Mr Cossey said, resulting from less fuel use and additional soil carbon storage from reduced tillage with GM crops.

"In 2011, this was equivalent to removing 23 billion kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or equal to removing 10.2 million cars – 80 per cent of the cars registered in Australia – from the road for one year."

The report also states the global farm income gain from biotech crops since 1996 has been US $98.2 billion.

Mr Cossey said GM crops were essential for a growing global population.

“Given that we need to produce 70 per cent more food by 2050 than we do today in order to meet the needs of our growing population, these figures give real, concrete evidence that agricultural biotechnology is a crucial asset for achieving that goal.

“If crop biotechnology had not been available to the 16.7 million farmers using the technology in 2011, maintaining global production at the 2011 levels would have required additional plantings equivalent to 33 per cent of the arable land in Australia.

"That’s over 15 million hectares of forest and natural habitat saved by the use of crop biotechnology.

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READER COMMENTS

mug
8/05/2013 6:56:00 AM

I am sceptical of anything this bloke says. It is probably half true.
holisticmick
8/05/2013 7:44:48 AM

The only entity to benefit from this technology is the companies that introduce it. Experience in the US after 10 years of GM crops, seed prices many times higher that conventional, super weeds and locked into GM with no real option to go back to conventional crops due to contamination of GM genetics.
Alice
8/05/2013 9:51:45 AM

.... and America, who gave birth to GM crops, has the most mal-nourished obese people in the world with chronic disease on the rise and early onset in children. This is the first generation that has been primarily GMO-fed. Are PG Economics and Cossey offsetting their claims of advantage against health costs?
jeffito
8/05/2013 10:49:36 AM

A positive article on GM technology brings out the same old bunch of crazy opposition. Such articles are like a match dropped into dry grass. To once again paraphrase an old hero, Charlie Perkins, " when you drop a match into dry grass it doesn't take long before all the snakes stick their heads up"
Fran Murrell
8/05/2013 11:44:15 AM

CropLife is using a report from P G Economics as a basis for their claims. P G Economics say "The authors acknowledge that funding towards the researching of this paper was provided by Monsanto." p23 footnote 14. The positive reports of Australian GM canola farmers was also provided by Monsanto. They contrast with the Birchip Cropping Group's assessment that GM canola growers were $150/hectare worse off for growing GM canola. GM is a dud and Monsanto funding reports saying otherwise is disgraceful.
Jed
8/05/2013 11:51:08 AM

This article is typical pro GM PR brainwashing hogswill. Saving carbon with GM -what an absolute crock!
graingrower
8/05/2013 12:55:16 PM

Sure, lets hand our future 100% over to US corporate control, Aust Grain gowers will be glorified factory workers within 10 years. East cost grain export control etc etc etc. The US don't have friends,they only have interests. (i.e theirs).
Bob Phelps
8/05/2013 1:59:31 PM

Deluded with false claims: 1. Cossey says 'lower input costs', but high GM seed royalties & Monsanto requires costly brand name Roundup, not generics. So Birchip Cropping Group found GM canola $150/hectare less profitable than other canola; 2. Morris of ABARES claims 'State moratoriums on the use or trial of GM crops' stalled adoption. But under national OGTR regulations, States cannot & do not prohibit field trials e.g. SA hosts several trials; 3. 'improving drought resistance in crops', but no GM cotton, canola, soy or corn have drought resistance traits. 4. less 'greenhouse gases' no data!
ggwagga
8/05/2013 3:32:16 PM

Anyone who places any credibility on this misleading infomercial is delusional. jeffito, on what basis are you qualified to determine who is a black snake and who has integrity? Time and time again those rightfully opposing this insidious technology will be proven categorically right. Unfortunately an enormous amount of damage will have been inflicted on farms and farmers because those, who refuse to see the dangers of GM, will have contaminate crops and the environment.
PeterMicrobe
8/05/2013 4:07:44 PM

There is no need for GM crops. Using the "right" soil-microbes will give you a yield as high if not bigger AND give you a better quality product for Australians. Don't be conned in with this rubbish the government and the seed sellers tell you.
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