Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Benefits Seen in GM Onion Trial

2 November 2003
PR 219/2003
Benefits Seen in GM Onion Trial

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) will this week back an application from a government-owned research company to field test onions genetically modified to tolerate a common herbicide.

Hugh Ritchie, the federation's spokesman on genetic modification (GM), said the application by the New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd will build on research already underway and has potential to benefit producers, consumers and the environment.

Mr Ritchie is chairman of the Grains Council, an industry group of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc), a voluntary organisation with more than 18,000 members.

"Federated Farmers considers the proposed field trial presents the most negligible risk possible for this type of work," Mr Ritchie said. "It will also generate valuable information in the context of New Zealand agriculture." A public hearing by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) starts Monday (November 3) to consider the application to plant onions modified for tolerance to glyphosate, a low toxicity, biodegradable herbicide.

Though farmers see potential advantages in GM technology, there must be controls to ensure that other agriculture is not put at risk, said Mr Ritchie.

"We consider the containment procedures put in place by Crop & Food Research are sufficient to manage any risk of escape," Mr Ritchie said.

Mr Ritchie plans to appear before the ERMA hearing in Christchurch to give oral evidence in support of the federation's written submission presented earlier this year.

"Glyphosate-resistant onions have potential to reduce herbicide use on onions by 70 percent. Current practices can require up to 30 spray passes on one crop, using around 13 different herbicides. Many of these substances are classified as toxic or poisonous and persistent in the environment.

"By using modified onions it will be possible to control weeds with only two or three applications. This is better for the environment and for growers concerned about risks from exposure to more toxic herbicides," Mr Ritchie said.

According to ERMA, the application is the first to field test a genetically modified plant received by the authority since the New Zealand Forest Research Institute applied to field test modified trees three years ago.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>

Statistics: Butter At Record $5.67/Block; High Vegetable Prices

Rising dairy prices have pushed food prices up 2.7 percent in the year to October 2017, Stats NZ said today. This followed a 3.0 percent increase in the year to September 2017. More>>


Science: New Research Finds Herbicides Cause Antibiotic Resistance

New University of Canterbury research confirms that the active ingredients of the commonly used herbicides, RoundUp, Kamba and 2,4-D (glyphosate, dicamba and 2,4-D, respectively), each alone cause antibiotic resistance at concentrations well below label application rates. More>>


CO2 And Water: Fonterra's Environment Plans

Federated Farmers support Fonterra’s bold push to get to zero emissions of CO2 on the manufacturing side of the Co-operative, both in New Zealand and across its global network. More>>


Fisheries: Decision To Delay Monitoring ‘Fatally Flawed’

Conservation group representatives say a decision by the new Minister of Fisheries, Stuart Nash, to delay implementation of camera monitoring of fishing efforts in New Zealand is ‘fatally flawed’. More>>


Kaikōura Quakes: One Year On

State Highway One and the railway were blocked by damage and slips and the Inland Road suffered significant damage. Farms, homes and businesses suffered building and land damage. Power and internet went down, drinking water systems, sewage systems and local roads were all badly affected... More>>