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AUS Farmers Earning Premium For Staying GE Free

Farmers Are Earning Significant Premium for Staying GM Free Says Minister

The Minister of Agriculture in Western Australia is backing calls for a moratorium on commerical release of GMO's and says farmers are earning a significant premium by preserving their products as GM-free.

Kim Chance says there is a major international competitive advantage from Australian farmers staying GM-free.

But New Zealand farmers also need to be protected to preserve their clean-green positioning, and are at risk given the absence of an official moratorium in New Zealand. Having allowed the legislated moratorium to lapse, the New Zealand government is allowing applications to ERMA for trials and commercial crops.

Figures supplied by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics (ABARE) show Australian non-GM canola is now commanding a substantial price premium over that of Canadian farmers who used to regularly receive a premium for their non-GM canola.

“By September 2007, Australian non-GM canola prices had exceeded Canadian GM canola prices by some US$58 a tonne.” (Source: ABARE).

“This represents a turnaround of some US$120 per tonne in favour of Australia’s non-GM canola producers,” said Mr Chance.

Mr Chance said ABARE’s figures showed it was now Australia’s canola farmers who were being paid a substantial premium for their GM-free product.

New Zealand has an informal moratorium on GM crops by virtue of the market demand for GM-free foods and the devastating impact contamination would have on our trade. But this may not be enough to protect farmers.

The lesson from overseas use of GMO's is that contamination is inevitable and there can be no co-existence without widespread contamination of conventional and organic production systems.

"It is time for the moratorium to be re- introduced in New Zealand to assert our national identity and focus scientific efforts on projects which better fit with our values and market position," says Jon Carapiet from GE free NZ (in food and environment).

"There are already uses of gene science in containment that are ethical and do not contaminate the environment."

"New Zealand needs a new biotechnology strategy so that Farmers can benefit from ethical research and still maintain there GE-free status," says Mr Carapiet.

ENDS

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