SA grain group launches GM petition

29 Sep, 2015 05:30 AM
In recent years, our capacity to increase productivity has slowed.

GRAIN Producers SA is launching a petition today to support lifting the moratorium on growing genetically modified (GM) crops in South Australia.

The petition – the first under the new advocacy structure in South Australia – will be launched by GPSA at its Grower Day at the Yorke Peninsula Field Days.

The cultivation of GM food crops is prohibited in SA under the Genetically Modified Crops Management (Designation of Areas) Regulations 2008, which were made under the Genetically Modified Crops Management Act 2004.

According to the State government, these regulations will remain in place until at least September 1, 2019.

In a statement, GPSA chief executive officer Darren Arney said the petition highlights producers’ need for freedom of choice on variety selection.

“Our members are becoming increasingly frustrated that they do not have the same freedom of choice in their farming systems that their interstate counterparts have,” he said.

“GPSA’s policy is that growers should have the freedom of choice to grow the cereal, legume and oilseed varieties that best fit their farming system. This means having access to genetically modified crops.

“South Australian grain producers have a long history of innovation and adopting new technology to improve productivity.

“With an estimated export value this year of $2.4 billion, the grains industry is a major contributor to South Australia’s economy.

“However, in recent years, our capacity to increase productivity has slowed. As a result, we need to ensure we have access to all the latest technology to ensure our industry’s continued profitability and sustainability.

“Producers can drop into our site at 609 Arthurton Road at the field days or attend the Grower Day on Tuesday or Annual General Meeting on Wednesday to sign the petition.

"Copies will also be available on the GPSA website which can be posted or faxed to GPSA.”

GPSA will collate the petition – which is a letter addressed to SA Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell asking him to lift the moratorium – and forward it to the State government.

In a statement, GPSA lists the benefits to farming systems of using GM crops including increased weed control options and reduced reliance on chemicals for weed control; increased crop rotation options; increased production per hectare; increased competitiveness nationally and globally; and increased profitability for individual grain growing enterprises, which contributes to higher employment and jobs growth.

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29/09/2015 7:20:34 AM

This is about politics and oneupmanship. The overall benefits of GM are waining and unless the scientists come up with drought , salt , frost tolerance we are wasting time & money and combating sales resistance. In the meantime we await new strains which if they eventuate will be expensive. This money will go to o'seas shareholders.
Robert Wallis
29/09/2015 10:42:23 AM

While non GMO farmers enjoy a $56 premium for their GM free Canola these clowns propose this. Once again the GM lobby have convinced some of the falsehood of higher production etc. GMO crops are about one thing, selling more pesticides so lazy farmers can spray and forget
Bob Phelps
29/09/2015 1:24:52 PM

A small minority of gung ho grain growers want GM so they can spray more Roundup without killing their canola. But Australia's canola only sells well as most is GM-free. Cargill says: "The EU market is the main destination for Australian canola due to good demand and high prices." We won this market as Canada grows mostly GM. Our other main market is China that Cargill says is: "mainly importing Canadian canola as it's cheaper," and their GM crop has few other takers. Why choose to sell in a less reliable market, against fierce competition, at lower prices? What payoff for this GM push?
29/09/2015 9:24:37 PM

Always interesting to see on what activities grain lobby groups decide their members' money can be best spent.
george oh well
30/09/2015 2:27:23 PM

Bob its not useful to call people gung ho when they are doing what they see as best management. As u have highlighted there are many factors to this issue, it is important to keep the dialogue open as we the proles are the only hope.
30/09/2015 6:16:26 PM

Robert Wallis is the most sensible and economically savvy commentator so far. It makes no sense throwing away a $56/t premium if you are a grower. There is nothing put forward so far to counter that argument.
1/10/2015 5:45:12 AM

100% of Australian animal safety studies conducted by relevant scientists have shown genetic modification to have negative health effects. Don't inquiring minds find it disturbing that the rest of the world's have shown little to none? if SA has failed to capitalise on these premiums its a result of a poor grain marketing system or a food system beholden to vested interests.
1/10/2015 6:22:38 AM

WTF makes a good point. Why aren't South Australian grain producers and their representative lobbyists hopping-mad they aren't getting a premium, instead of using it as the reason why they need to grow more non-premium crops?!!
1/10/2015 7:04:48 AM

Because this premium is a great big myth. If it exists, what proportion of the total Aus canola crops actually attracts it? 10% is probably optimistic. And if it does in fact exist, the anti GM group should acknowledge that it exists only because GM exists. No GM, No premium. And if it did exist, why are WA, VIC and NSW farmers more willing to chase real benefits of GM canola and not chase after the premium myth. A premium can only exist for a minority boutique product using slick marketing.Stop the silly premium argument.
1/10/2015 7:18:31 AM

Because we produce more than we use and compete on a world market Larry. Vegetable oils come in many forms and sources can be differentiated.
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