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Farmers' Premium At Risk if Officials OK GE

24 August 2006

Farmers' Premium At Risk if Officials OK GE - Contamination

New Zealand and Australian farmers are set to lose out on premium-prices for GE-free commodities if our government decide to authorise contamination by GE constructs because of pressure from agricultural companies overseas.

Prices for commodities like GE-free canola are commanding tens of dollars more per tonne than contaminated ones as confirmed by media tracking international commodity prices (see attachments).

The importance of maintaining GE-free production has been again confirmed by the contamination of rice exports from the US by an untested and unauthorised experimental GE variant from Bayer.

Japan has announced a ban on long-grain rice imports until the contamination has been tracked and removed from the supply chain. New Zealand authorities have remained silent on the contamination and have yet to respond to enquiries despite announcements by US authorities over recent weeks.

"We must learn the lesson from Australian farmers who are benefitting from GE-free canola which is commanding a $65 per tonne premium, and may also benefit from GE-free rice production too " says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

"New Zealand farmers have a unique opportunity to 'brand' even commodities by maintaining our 'country of origin' quality and integrity," says Mr.Carapiet

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

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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