The South Australian Government’s decision to lift the moratorium on the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops on the State’s mainland, is a win for farmers.
The moratorium will remain in place for Kangaroo Island, due to a unique market for non-GM canola that a group of KI producers has established in Japan.
Yesterday’s decision follows the recommendations of an independent review led by Emeritus Professor Kym Anderson AC.
National Farmers’ Federation Chief Executive Tony Mahar said South Australian grain producers were now one step closer to having the freedom of choice to grow the crops that best suit their production systems.
“The announcement is significant, and brings South Australia into step with other mainland Australian states where farmers are able to access and benefit from approved GM crops.
“The NFF strongly supports the right of farmers to have the choice to access to the latest technology, if it has been proven safe and effective by our world-class regulators.
“Application of GM technology within Australian production systems has been hugely beneficial for Australian farmers, the environment and consumers, and with new varieties in the pipeline those benefits only stand to grow,” Mr Mahar said.
Domestic and international experience has shown that the co-existence of GM and conventional crops can be readily managed, with systems in place to manage segregation.
“It’s important to stress that removing the moratorium won’t impact other farmers who choose to continue growing conventional or organic crops,” Mr Mahar said.
State and territory governments can implement GM moratoria for marketing reasons, however economic assessments have shown the moratorium in SA does not deliver any marketing or economic benefit to the farming sector, and that not having access to GM crops has in fact cost the SA canola industry $33 million since 2004.
“We congratulate the SA Government on this decision, which is a win for farmers and a vote of confidence that will support future investment in agricultural research and development in SA,” Mr Mahar said.
The SA Government decision is subject to a statutory consultation process, which is open until 30 September 2019.