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Farmers Can Bank on Premium for GE-Free

22 August 2006

Farmers Can Bank on Premium for GE-Free Commodities.

New Zealand farmers are set to command premium prices - even for so-called-commodities- if they preserve their GE-free status. That's the lesson from Australian farmers' experience with GE-free canola which is commanding a $65 per tonne premium as reported by the Weekly Times.

"New Zealand farmers have a unique opportunity to 'brand' even commodities by maintaining our 'country of origin' quality and integrity," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment. "Local farmers are being sold short by our government's refusal to support Country of Origin Labelling on food for fear of creating a 'trade barrier'," says Mr Carapiet.

But New Zealand's trading advantage could be devastated by government relaxing zero-tolerance standards for GE contamination as seems to be in the planning.

"New Zealand farmers will be the big losers if contamination is given the ok. We must be the 'gold standard' in quality, not bog standard!" says Mr Carapiet.

Simon Terry from the Sustainabilty Council of NZ says consumer markets are setting higher standards than governments who are caving into the biotech industry. Mr Terry is reported to have told Local Councils at a recent seminar that consumer markets have shown quite strong aversions to GM food. A trace contamination of 0.05 percent lost a Gisborne firm a $500,000 sale to Japan. It is markets ultimately that determine what is acceptable.

Farmers must take action now to defend their abilty to sell GE-free food, or be left behind trying to flog contaminated produce to the lowest segment of the global market. Farmers must tell government that our standards must not be undermined.

ENDS

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