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Seed Purity Laws Vital to Protect NZ's Future

Mon, 1 Nov 2004

Seed Purity Laws Vital to Protect NZ's Future

Stronger legislation to protect the supply of pure seed for agriculture is vital to New Zealand's future. The New Zealand government should also be supporting other nations to create a global system to protect the integrity of seed supply. This should include refusing patents on seeds.

"We need to keep ourselves free of GE so that we can provide other countries as well as ourselves with clean seed that can be kept and regrown each season," said Claire Bleakley of GE Free (NZ) in food and environment

In recent weeks the International press has reported that Iraq, the bread basket of the Middle East and the original source of wheat, has beeen subjected to US legislation that makes it illegal for farmers to save their seed.

International watchdog GMWatch has asked "is the US putting legislation in place in Iraq in preparation for commercialising GE wheat there and to gain a foothold in Asia?"

Indian farmers in Andra Pradesh have also suffered failure of GE cotton witrh resulting farmer suicides because of debt to agi-business.

Argentina a country known as the bread basket of the world has now become a 'GE soya' basket-case. Millions of hectares of GE soy monoculture now spread over the once fertile flood plains.

"The soya barons have removed fences, drinking wells for cattle, and windmills. The soya monoculture is driven only by the reduction of costs and the increase of profits, at the expense of natural resources," says Claire Bleakley.

Aerial spraying with Glyphosphate, 2.4D, Paraquat and endosulfan over the GE soy fields are causing serious health problems, such as cancer, birth defects and spontaneous abortions. In the small towns surrounded by the green desert of soya, some of the fumigation aircraft do not even switch off their fumigators when flying over urban areas, exposing the population to such hazardous chemicals.(GRR, 2004).

However, NAFTA has recognised the dangers of GE contamination in Mexico, the genetic origin of corn, and has recommended that GE crops should not be planted there.

"It is imperative that we keep our environment pure and free of GE in any form. In the year since the lifting of the moratorium the public have become more concerned over the prospect of GE entering New Zealand and more positive about supporting an organic future," says Claire Bleakley.

"New Zealand can once again lead the world as a GE Free nation and should re-introduce a moratorium on GE release" she says.

" We are being warned by three major continents, Europe, South America and Asia not to follow in their footsteps. It is time to listen."

ENDS


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