GM crops could divide communities
2.W.A. Minister ignores Risk Management
3.WA loses GM-free premiums and market edge
EXTRACT: "It is also a very underhanded move to announce this controversial decision just before Christmas as it exposes the Ministers fear of public scrutiny and shows disrespect for the public."
1.GM crops could divide communities
Weekly Times, December 23 2008
A FARMERS' lobby group says farmers who don't grow genetically modified canola will be forced to sue those that do over economic losses.
Farmers are outraged the Western Australia government has allowed up to a thousand hectares of GM canola crops to be farmed next year, ignoring a timeframe to produce a report detailing issues about the technology.
The Network of Concerned Farmers describes the move as a blatant disregard for a consultation between the government and farmers.
Spokeswoman Julie Newman says as a result farmers who don't support the practice won't be able to segregate from the GM sector and legally wouldn't be able to defend themselves.
She says non-GM farmers will be very hard pushed to sell the product as non-GM.
2.W.A. Minister ignores Risk Management
NETWORK OF CONCERNED FARMERS, 23.12.08
Minister Terry Redman announced this morning that the W.A. State government would approve up to 1,000ha of commercial GM canola trials next year. The Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) have slammed the controversial decision claiming it is nothing more than a backdoor commercial release because there will be no returning to a GM-free status once grown.
"Any commercial planting creates risk and the Minister has deliberately ignored these risks and denied fair risk management." said Julie Newman, National Spokesperson for NCF. "It is a negligent decision."
The NCF believe the Minister should have waited for the Ministerial GMO Industry Reference Group Report. The cross-industry expert committee has been working all year preparing an accurate analysis of the issues surrounding GM crops and the final draft was planned to be forwarded to the Minister within weeks. Mrs Newman claims that the Minister deliberately made the announcement before receiving the report as the report reveals serious risks associated with GM canola and exposed the misleading propaganda surrounding the crop.
"The report clearly reveals that there is little benefit, no economic advantage, that segregation is impossible, that tolerance levels of GM will not be accepted and that there is inadequate legal framework to protect farmers not wishing to grow the crop," explained Mrs Newman. "It is not only canola that will be affected, markets simply do not want GM canola contamination in a range of products."
The trial is planning to assess the coexistence process to effectively segregate GM and non-GM canola. Mrs Newman claims that the coexistence protocols are designed to accept contamination when no contamination is accepted in non-GM produce. GM canola products are not labelled "GM" and if a "Non-GM" label is used on canola produce, the ACCC has confirmed that no GM canola contamination is accepted in non-GM produce.
"The protocols are designed to remove the choice to market as non-GM which will remove the choice for consumers to avoid the product. It is not unreasonable to demand fair risk management to allow choice, but it is very poor governance to deny it."
It is also a very underhanded move to announce this controversial decision just before Christmas as it exposes the Ministers fear of public scrutiny and shows disrespect for the public."
Contact: Julie Newman Phone 08 98711562
3.WA loses GM-free premiums and market edge
Gene Ethics, December 23 2008
Western Australian Agriculture Minister Terry Redman fast-tracked commercial GM canola into the state under cover of Christmas. His claim to "a long consultative process" is obviously false, as he's brand new in the job.
"WA's GM-free status has been earning growers from A$40 to A$85 premium above world market prices for most of 2008," says Gene Ethics Director, Bob Phelps.
"Our analysis of canola values (see attachment) published weekly in the rural media shows that GM-free canola has a unique competitive advantage over its Canadian GM rival in world markets.
"New markets for GM-free opening up in Asia and the Middle East will not be available to Australia and that will also be a huge loss.
"Monsanto and Cargill will reap a bonanza from our loss of a significant marketing edge for GM-free canola.
"By removing Australia's competitive edge and GM-free market domination, the transnational companies put us back on a level playing field with Canadian exporters where they can exploit us all equally.
"Our premium will go straight into Monsanto's bottom line, as input costs for the seeds and services that the companies provide escalate for all Australian growers.
"GM farmers will pay $1,000 per farm accreditation fee, higher seed costs, more expensive Roundup to spray on the crop, a fee for weed resistance management advice, and a royalty on the harvested seed of $20.40/tonne.
"GM-free growers and other rural industries will pay extra for GM testing, monitoring and segregation, and will also risk their other products losing value when contaminated with GM canola.
"Redman shows his gullibility when he says: "I am confident that CBH has the protocols in place to manage the co-existence process to effectively segregate GM and non-GM canola through the transport, storage and marketing processes," Mr Phelps says.
"Co-operative Bulk Handlers policy is that they will not segregate after the first two years unless GM-free growers pay for the service, but that will include 0.9% contamination.
"CBH will dump all canola in the GM bin as happened in Canada and all growers will have to accept the extra costs and lower prices that GM canola attracts.
"When GM canola blew onto roadsides in Victoria this year, Monsanto said GM contamination was: "always expected and anticipated".
"Agriculture Minister Joe Helper refused to act and local farmers and residents formed a working party to clean up.
"We asked Redman to think about this over the holidays but Monsanto wanted their answer now.
""With Monsanto's puppets running the state, farmers had better watch out," Mr Phelps concludes.
More comment: Bob Phelps, Gene Ethics, 03 9347 4500/0449 769 066
THINK, CARE, ACT!
WA State Government approves small scale commercial GM canola trials
Portfolio: Agriculture and Food
The State Government today approved limited commercial-size trials for genetically modified canola to go ahead in Western Australia.
Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman said the announcement will allow trial crops to be planted in 2009 and involve about 20 farmers and approximately 1,000 hectares.
"This decision is a prudent and responsible one - to proceed in a cautious manner by allowing research to continue into the use of GM technology. I firmly believe the role of any Government is to ensure farmers have the choice and the tools to expand their businesses and grow their profitability," Mr Redman said.
"GM canola could potentially offer higher yields through better weed control and less fuel usage. Successful development of Roundup Ready canola could see this crop grown over lower rainfall areas which would be a great outcome for the entire State."
"The locations of the trials are to be determined. Growers that are interested will undergo stewardship training and then the proponent, together with CBH, will select up to 20 growers to undertake the trials under conditions approved by the Director-General of the Department of Agriculture and Food.
"I am confident that CBH has the protocols in place to manage the co-existence process to effectively segregate GM and non-GM canola through the transport, storage and marketing processes. These trials will assess those protocols as well as look at the agronomic performance of the crop.
"The department will work collaboratively with industry through the trials and assist all industry participants with auditing and on-site inspection of the new trials. It will then analyse the results.
"The decision follows a long consultative process with industry, the public, local government, and overseas experience."
The Minister said there would be stringent safeguards in place for the management of these trials.
"The trials will be managed in a closed-loop system which requires the product to be delivered to a specified receival point and processed by specified oil crushers," he said.
"This is the same management system that is being used successfully in New South Wales and Victoria, where Roundup Ready canola was grown for the first time this year."
Mr Redman said that he recognised concern in the community surrounding the issue of labelling in regard to GM food products.
"Labelling is an issue that requires a national perspective which is why I am following the national review of labelling with great interest. Linked in with this, I am establishing a WA intergovernmental committee," he said.
"This committee will investigate the issues of appropriate consumer information, labelling requirements and compliance with regard to GM foods."
Minister's office - 08 9213 6700