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Maintaining New Zealand's Competitive Advantage

Maintaining New Zealand's Competitive Advantage.

The lifting of the Moratorium on Genetic Modification will not signal a wholesale move to the farming of GM crops, says Federated Farmer's National Board member Neil Barton.

"Politically motivated material, such as the UK Soil Association report which focuses on individuals with axes to grind, does not contribute to a quality debate on the benefits of GM technology to New Zealand, Mr Barton said.

"The GM crops mentioned in the UK Soil Association report are of little interest to New Zealand farmers, as we do not grow cotton or soybeans and a only limited area of canola. New Zealand farmers will be interested in the next generation of GM products could potentially produce human health benefits e.g. nutrasecuticals.

"Given the strength of New Zealand's research capability in biotechnology there is no reason why exciting new GM technologies that will grow the New Zealand economy cannot be developed here.

"As the population ages and becomes increasingly concerned about their health the opportunities to develop high value niche markets are endless.

"The Government has clearly signalled that Biotechnology is an area of both natural and acquired comparative advantage for New Zealand.

"New Zealand farmers have maintained their international competitiveness by responding to the quality and safety demands of a wide range of international consumers. We cannot afford to ignore the opportunities GM products offer in terms of environmental sustainability, productivity and health benefits if our consumers demand them."

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