CROPLIFE Australia chief executive Matthew Cossey says the co-existence of all farming systems is vital for the sustainability of Australia’s agriculture industry, with the successful co-existence of different production systems occurring across the country and across the world for many years.
He says the ability of each Australian farmer to choose what they wish to produce allows them to adapt quickly to customer desires and provide the foods that Australians want to eat.
But Mr Cossey believes co-existence is being strained because Australia’s organic standards are out of step with the rest of the world by not providing appropriate tolerances.
A zero tolerance to genetically modified crops underpins the organic certification central to the Kojonup case involving two neighbours now embroiled in legal action over alleged GM “contamination” in late 2010.
Mr Cossey says there is no scientific basis that would justify this ongoing restriction on tolerances in relevant regulation and is demanding government intervention.
“Decertification of organic crops unnecessarily occurs in Australia in circumstances that would not result in decertification of the exact same crop in the exact same circumstance in any other country,” he said.
“This disadvantages all Australian farmers and is a matter the federal government should immediately address.
“Internationally recognised organic certification standards and procedures provide tolerances and lee-ways to reflect the reality of operating in biological systems and large agricultural supply chains.
“It is noteworthy that products certified as organic under these international standards are recognised by AQIS as conforming to the Australian Organic Standard and may be freely imported into Australia.”