EXTRACT: "If politicians want Australian farmers to follow in the footsteps of US and Canadian farmers who have faced additional costs, intimidating contracts and plummeting market acceptance of GM food crops, they should also be prepared to match the massive subsidies given to growers of GM food crops."
FARMERS OUTRAGED AT VICTORIAN CONTAMINATION PLAN
Network of Concerned Farmers PRESS RELEASE, 14th May 2007
The Network of Concerned Farmers was outraged today at news that the Victorian State Government plans to lift the moratorium on genetically modified crops. The key issue of concern for the NCF is the unfair costs and liabilities that will be imposed on non-GM farmers due to the problems associated with segregating GM from non-GM crops in order to supply markets that are GM sensitive.
"This is a deliberate attempt to contaminate Victoria's GM-free status and the Victorian Government has failed farmers by refusing to protect farmers from unfair costs and liabilities." Farmers and consumers will be denied choice as it is expected that non-GM farmers will be forced to market as GM," said Mrs Julie Newman, National Spokesperson for the Network of Concerned Farmers.
The NCF have lobbied to introduce liability legislation to ensure the GM industry is liable for any consequences from the introduction of GM products, however it appears that the Victorian Government is satisfied that coexistence plans put the burden of segregation on to the non-GM grower.
"If the beneficiaries were liable for the adverse consequences, they would not be in such a hurry to force GM and the associated bulldust on such a reluctant population." said Mrs Newman.
The NCF claim that GM technology is a failure as, despite many promises, the only commercial crops grown in the world have the same basic traits released over a decade ago and those benefits can be ;easily achieved by non-GM means.
Statistically, 68% of the total global commercial GM crops are herbicide tolerant (the crop is resistant to a particular herbicide), 19% are Bt (the plant produces the Bt insecticide to control budworm and bollworm in corn and cotton) and 13% contain both traits. There are many claims boasting of environmental benefits however the NCF explain that most of the Australian canola crop is grown with non-GM chemical resistant traits and therefore there will be no change in methodology.
"Farmers are only being offerered a different herbicide tolerant trait in canola and this will not offer any alternative benefit except a weed control that is more expensive and less effective on weeds such as radish. The grower will also face more expensive seed, binding contracts, demanding management plans and market rejection.
"If GM canola was superior to non-GM canola, the GM companies would not have refused to participate in independent performance trials."
"To have politicians that should know better, claiming that Australian farmers are missing out on traits like drought or salt tolerance and high yields is deliberately misleading and we need to ask why."
"The beneficiaries of GM crops are the patent holders, the GM companies, the seed industry, the research sector and the governments who are encouraging corporate investment into research and development and planning to cash in on the technology patents they currently own," explained Mrs Newman.
"If politicians want Australian farmers to follow in the footsteps of US and Canadian farmers who have faced additional costs, intimidating contracts and plummeting market acceptance of GM food crops, they should also be prepared to match the massive subsidies given to growers of GM food crops."
"GM is a scam and shame on the Victorian government for promoting it."
Julie Newman, Newdegate, WA, Phone 08 98711562 Geoffrey Carracher, Minimay Victoria 03 53866261