Saturday, June 06, 2009


Big three unite over GM wheat release




A JOINT statement has been issued by wheat grower groups in Australia, Canada and the US expressing their desire to synchronise the release of biotechnology for wheat.

The statement said it was in the best interests of all three countries to introduce wheat biotechnology in a coordinated fashion, to minimise market disruption.

The statement will send a common message to wheat export markets and wheat biotechnology providers, informing them about farmers' willingness to work with them collectively to develop the technology.

The announcement also expressed a shared view on wheat biotechnology principles, highlighting the importance of wheat to the food supply chain.

It also highlighted the declining area of crop being planted in all the signatory countries, due in part to competition for wheat from other competing crops such as corn, canola and soybean crops, which already benefit from the use of biotechnology traits.

The Australian signatories were the Grains Council of Australia, the Grain Growers Association and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA (PGA).

The joint statement also said none of the groups would hold a veto over the actions of the others.

PGA grains policy director Sheldon Mumby said the PGA was happy to be part of the joint statement, saying it was a positive step for wheat growers.

"The PGA was happy to put our name to the joint statement because it is supportive of the substantial benefits that genetically modified plants can bring to the grains industry," he said.

It is understood other farm lobby groups in Australia, including WAFarmers and the Victorian Farmers Federation, were invited to sign the trilateral statement but were unable to respond by the deadline for the statement's release.

A WAFarmers spokesperson said it supported the development of GM wheat and understood the technology would need to go through an education process, leading up to its release.

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