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Higher Costs Lower Yields & Market Loss No Benefit

Network of Concerned Farmers Press Release
18 September 2005

Response to ABARE: Higher costs, lower yields and market loss does not equate to a benefit for farmers

The Network of Concerned Farmers claim that the report released today from ABARE is misleading and based on unsubstantiated claims. ABARE modeling has found that failure to commercialise transgenic crops now and in the near future could, by 2015, cost Australians $3 billion, Dr Fisher said.

"This is simply not true. GM gives lower yields, higher costs and market risk to a range of commodities and in no way represents a benefit to Australian farmers," said Julie Newman, National Spokesperson for the Network of Concerned Farmers.

Mrs Newman explained that the GM debate was centred around GM canola with two different traits. Bayer Cropscience is offering a hybrid canola variety resistant to the chemical glufosinate ammonium and Monsanto is offering a variety that is resistant to glyphosate.

"Even Bayer admits their variety yields 20% less than non-GM hybrids. Their chemical is far more expensive than non-GM varieties and does not kill radish our worst weed and the price of seed is a ridiculous $16,000/tonne. Why would we want to pay more to get less?"

"The best yield Monsanto had on their website equated to 17% below the national average and Monsanto's user fees are exhorbitant."

"Couple this with a serious market loss to a range of commodities and we have a serious potential loss for our industry if GM canola is introduced."

The Network of Concerned Farmers have been campaigning for a strict liability regime to prevent non-GM farmers being liable for any costs or market loss caused by GM products. State governments have recognised this issue and will be discussing the possibility of introducing a strict liability legislation at next months Primary Industries Ministerial Council meeting.

"If those pushing GM crops truly want to resolve the GM issue, they should start addressing the problems and unfair liability is top of the list. Non-GM farmers will not accept liability for a GM product we do not want and do not need."

"Lets face the truth, governments and research institutes want farmers to adopt GM to encourage corporate investment to plant breeding, not for the benefit of farmers. Farmers pay at least $65 million/year to research and development, scientists can't expect us to sacrifice our industry as well. "

- END -

References: Bayer 20% Yield quote: OGTR


Network of Concerned Farmers Press Release
19 September 2005

Genetically modified canola destroyed in NSW

- Professor Tim Reeves from the NSW Advisory Committee on Gene Technology says the contamination could have come from seed that may have been wrongly labelled or inadvertently mixed, or through cross pollination. He said up to 20 per cent of the canola in at least one of the sites showed tolerance to glyphosate.

*Genetically modified canola destroyed in NSW –
*Bruce Reynolds/David Claughton

New South Wales is the latest state to confirm it has been growing genetically modified canola. Varieties contaminated with genetically modified genes have been identified and destroyed at nine sites across the state. The President of the Manildra field station, John Miller says the Department of Primary Industry has been secretive about the contamination issue and farmers are disappointed at the way it has been handled.

The NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald says he is very disappointed any GM crops have been grown within his state and he has asked the Crown Solicitor to advise on whether legal action is necessary over breaches to the state's moratorium on the commercialisation of GM canola. Professor Tim Reeves from the NSW Advisory Committee on Gene Technology says the contamination could have come from seed that may have been wrongly labelled or inadvertently mixed, or through cross pollination. He said up to 20 per cent of the canola in at least one of the sites showed tolerance to glyphosate.

Meanwhile, the NSW Government has announced it will extend a ban on genetically modified food crops for another two years.

*John Miller, president, Manildra field station; Ian Macdonald, NSW Minister for Primary Industries; Professor Tim Reeves, chair, NSW Advisory Council on Gene Technology.*

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