Seed industry welcomes lifting of GM moratorium in South Australia

Farmers across mainland South Australia now have the choice to plant approved genetically modified (GM) crops for the 2021 grain season.

“I commend Minister Basham and the Marshall Government for putting science before rhetoric and delivering choice to the South Australian agricultural sector,” said Osman Mewett, Chief Executive of the Australian Seed Federation.

“For too long, South Australian farmers have been denied the ability to choose from the full suite of tools that have been available to their colleagues in neighbouring states. They have been farming with one hand tied behind their backs.

“The GM crop moratorium restricted the incentive for South Australian researchers to develop agricultural biotechnologies for South Australia. It denied South Australian farmers access to innovative breeding methods and new crops, and it banned the transport of GM seed across the state.

“The GM seed transport ban had a significant negative impact on the Australian seed industry, resulting in increased costs to seed producers and long delays from having to use other transport measures to divert genetically modified seed around South Australia.

“Multiple independent reviews demonstrated there is no trade and marketing benefit to maintaining the GM moratorium in South Australia. The most recent review by Professor Anderson found that the GM moratorium has cost the state’s canola industry $33 million, with no tangible trade or marketing benefit in return.

Mr Mewett concluded, “Co-existence between organic, conventional and GM production systems has worked efficiently and effectively in neighbouring states for more than a decade, and now farmers on mainland South Australia will have the ability to choose those farming tools that work best for them on their land and not have politics stand in the way.”

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