GRDC working against farmers
NOTE: The following letter details how corporates such as Monsanto will eventually control the global food supply. It also explains why governments are supporting GM. It was printed in both main West Australian rural papers, the Farm Weekly and the Countryman on June 25 2009. GRDC is the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
GRDC working against farmers
Farmers are forced to pay GRDC almost $80 million/year by a research and development levy on all grain produced. GRDC funding is taken for granted by the research sector and naturally everyone on the GRDC gravy train will be very precious towards any critical scrutiny of GRDC and they have the money to deflect criticism.
Farmers need to ask why we do not own the intellectual property we pay for and why we are not given the same 125% tax benefit for R&D that apply to other business enterprises. Federal government policies dictate the direction of GRDC funding which is to promote corporate investment to research and to capitalise on existing government investments. Despite farmers contributing around 70% of the GRDC budget, both Federal and State governments promote GRDC funding as their own government contribution to agriculture and both are cutting their own funding.
In recent years, our plant breeding research and development sector has been commercialised and commercial partners plan to make very good profits from a previously unprofitable industry. GRDC's priority is to assist its research partners to be "self funded through revenues from end point royalties" which are deducted from farmers grain payments on delivery. GRDC now only funds pre-breeding which was previously only funded by governments.
GRDC's strategic plan 2007-2012 details the drive to increase profits from farmers, not for farmers. The target aim is to increase wheat yields by only 1% which is far less value than our payments. The strategy to drive efficiency gains is to be achieved by pushing a path to market for GM crops, improving the efficiency of end point royalty collection from farmers and to "explore grower contracts that allow increased adoption of new plant varieties" which indicates moves to restrict farmers ability to replant our own seeds through the contracts associated with new varieties. If the commercial research sector forces farmers to buy new seed every year through lack of choice, they can dictate what seeds are available and increase the costs and onerous contracts involved.
All WA public plant breeders have since formed a wheat breeding alliance called Intergrain and their past collective intellectual property now belongs to Intergrain, based at Murdoch University which arranges alliances with corporate business partners. The sole seed distributor is Cropcare, a fully owned subsidiary of Monsanto's Australian alliance partner Nufarm.
It was Intergrain that killed the variety Carnamah by the sudden introduction of EPR's and Intergrain that is introducing contracts to stipulate sole marketers for new varieties. What restrictive commercial contracts will we see in the future despite using our GRDC funds to develop new varieties?
It appears that our reseach sector has sold out to corporates and farmers could effectively be forced to be contract growers for their supply chain. I strongly object to being forced to fund GRDC and GM crops when this money is used against farmer choice and profitability.
66 North Rd
2008/09 Priorities http://www.daff.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/654543/2008-09-grdc.pdf
2007-12 Strategic direction http://www.grdc.com.au/uploads/documents/GRDC%20Strategic%20R&D%20Plan%202007-12.pdf