[permaculture] Farmers demand GE crop poll

Russ Grayson pacedge at magna.com.au
Sat Jan 11 23:34:37 EST 2003

NEWS from PacificEdge Media...

West Wimmera, Friday 1st November

Farmers demand GE crop poll following shock result from SA

A survey of members of the South Australian Farmers Federation revealed 
yesterday that 80% of farmers want a moratorium on the introduction of 
Genetically Engineered (GE) crops. Farmers throughout Australia 
(members of farmers groups) are today demanding that Farmers 
Organisations in their states also conduct a vote of members on the 
controversial issue.

With the proposed release of GE canola only 5 months away, farmers 
around the country are increasingly frustrated that their concerns are 
not being listened to. The poll, released yesterday, by the South 
Australian Farmers Federation (SAFF) was the first of its kind in 
Australia and showed that 80% of SAFF members want a moratorium on the 
introduction of GE crops.

Canola farmer and VFF member Stephen English says "We are concerned 
about losing our markets. Many Australian exporting companies are being 
told by their customers that they will not accept GM grain. Grass roots 
VFF members would support buying time on this issue and should be able 
to have their say."

The results of the South Australian farmers poll are even more shocking 
given that an October survey by Biotechnology Australia showed that 
rural South Australia has by far the lowest level of concern over GE 
crops of any region in Australia.

Geoffrey Carracher, farmer and VFF member from West Wimmera said "If a 
poll was conducted in Victoria, the response is would be similar. Most 
farmers don't want GE crops but it's taking a long time for the grower 
organisations to wake up to what the grassroots members are saying".

VFF member and BFA spokesperson, Scott Kinnear said "The European Union 
is our third biggest export market for canola and they don't want GE 
food. Many consumers in Japan and China don't want to eat GE food, and 
many Australian food companies don't want to buy GE crops because their 
customers don't want it."

"We can't afford to risk losing our markets and contaminating non-GE 
crops by introducing GE canola. Containment and co-existence is 
impossible and if GE canola is introduced, there is no turning back."

"We're calling on the VFF, to listen to their members, to have a 
transparent, democratic process and to conduct a poll of all members on 
the issue of GE crops, asking farmers if they want a 5 year moratorium 
or not," Mr Kinnear concluded.

For interviews or more information:

Geoffrey Carracher (West Wimmera) ph (03) 5386 6261.
Steve English (Kerang) ph 03 54 57 7230
Scott Kinnear (Daylesford) ph 0419 881 729
Gill Rosier (Bendigo) ph (03) 5435 3669
Julie Newman (WA) ph (08) 9871 1562
Arthur Bowman (NSW) ph (02) 6366 8229
Sam Statham (NSW) ph 0428 667 317

Or visit: www.non-gm-farmers.com

Source:GeneEthics updates newsletter

PacificEdge Media
TerraCircle aid & development team
Russ Grayson + Fiona Campbell
pacedge at magna.com.au
Phone/ fax: 02 9588 6931
PO Box 446 Kogarah NSW Australia 2217
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