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Lift the Remaining Moratoria

The Victorian and New South Wales moratoria on growing GM canola were lifted in  2008, In Western Australia, GM cotton and GM canola have been commercially planted since 2008 and 2010 respectively by exemption order under the Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Act 2003. However, South Australian farmers have been unable to join their fellow Australian farmers in adopting new technologies. There are no scientific, health or marketing reasons for GM canola to be banned in SA . This ban must be lifted.

There have been numerous independent research reports that demonstrate the ready acceptance of GM canola throughout the world.

The following information demonstrates the ready acceptance of GM canola into Australia's key markets both domestic and export. Research also rebuts the idea that growing GM canola might harm other markets such as wheat or dairy.

  • Japan is Australia's biggest export market and Japan imports GM canola. Japan is the largest importer of canola in the world. Over 85% of canola imported into Japan comes from Canada and is considered to be totally GM[4].
  • Australian and Canadian canola receives the same price in Japan. There are no price premiums for Australian canola see the chart below[2]. If GM canola was not accepted it would trade at a discount to conventional canola, in everyday terms "you couldn't give it away." But research studies have shown conventional and GM canola trade at the same price.

  • Europe is no longer closed to GM canola imports. On March 26 2007, the European Commission authorised the use and importation of three GM modified canola varieties in animal feed and industrial purposes[3]. This has the result of opening the European market to Canadian and Brazilian imports at the expense of Australian farmers who previously held that market due to its rejection of GM.
  • SA is not "GM Free." In 2006, 92 percent of Australian cotton plantings were of GM cotton[5]. The cottonseed oil from these plants is used in the animal feed and restaurant industries where it is sold as vegetable oil.
  • SA imports GM Food now. Australia is a net importer of soybean meal and flour with over 80 percent of soybean flour imported from the US which is overwhelmingly planted with GM varieties. Additionally in 2006 Australia imported 57,000 tonnes of GM canola from Canada. Products commonly containing GM material include bread, the oil used in fish & chip shops and donuts.
  • Allowing GM canola does not ruin organic markets. In Canada, the organic sector is growing at a rapid rate, increasing 60 percent in five years. The largest number of organic farms in Canada are in Saskatchewan Province, the same province where most GM canola is grown[6]. Furthermore, a recent Australian report concluded that "if GM canola were commercialised in Australia, the direct impacts on organic canola production in Australia are likely to be negligible"[1]..
  • Australian livestock and dairy producers already use GM feed. The Stock Feed Manufacturers Association of Australia covers 90 percent of commercial feed sold in Australia. On their most recent figures, 72 percent of the vegetable protein meal consumed by the dairy, poultry, beef and pig industries is from GM crops (soy and cotton)[7].

References

  1. Stephen Apted, and Kasia Mazur, "Potential Economic Impacts from the Introduction of GM Canola on Organic Farming in Australia," (Canberra: ABARE, 2007).
  2. Lisa Elliston, "The Economics of Biotechnology Adoption in Australia," Paper presented at the APEC Senior Officials Biotechnology Workshop, Canberra, 19 January 2007.
  3. European Commission, "GMOs: Three Oilseed Rapes Authorised for Import and Processing in Animal Feed," 2007).
  4. Max Foster, and Simon French, "Market Acceptance of GM Canola," (Canberra: ABARE, 2007).
  5. Monsanto Australia, "2006/07 Cotton Plantings," Monsanto Outlook, December 2006.
  6. Statistics Canada, "Census of Agriculture, Record Number 3438," 2007).
  7. Stock Feed Manufacturers Association, Website, (2007).

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