Farmers, scientists and industry unite for a GM-Free SA

On Wednesday afternoon (after 4pm), the Legislative Council will vote on a Greens motion to disallow Government Regulations that lifted the GM crops moratorium on mainland SA effective from 1st January. If successful, the ban on GM crops will be reinstated.

Ahead of the vote, Greens MLC Mark Parnell today hosted a briefing for MPs and will host an evening community forum tonight to explore some of the hidden costs of GM crops ignored by the Government and some parts of industry.

“Today, MPs heard the lived experience of a farmer who suffered contamination from his neighbour’s GM canola and what the impact of that was, both economic and social. They also heard from scientists with many years of expertise on GM crops and an organic industry representative. Tonight we will also hear from an agricultural economist. The common thread from all of their advice is – don’t lift the GM crops moratorium.” said Mark Parnell MLC.

Some of the speakers at the MP briefing and the community forum include:

Bob Mackley, a 4th generation farmer from the Wimmera area of Victoria, (now living in SA) whose paddock was contaminated by his neighbour’s GM canola crop in 2011.
“My neighbour’s GM canola washed more than 100m into my paddock. He chose to grow GM crops but I ended up bearing the cost of the clean up and lost income from this contamination. In addition to the cost of contamination, there’s the cost to rural communities when farmers are inevitably pitted against one another” said Mr Mackley.

Dr John Paull, an environmental scientist based at the University of Tasmania’s School of Land and Food, and editor of the open-access peer-reviewed Journal of Organics.
“With contamination from GM crops inevitable, the SA Government needs to address the issue of liability. The GM seed patent-owners get their customers to sign an agreement that states that in no event are they liable for any damages. It’s a corporate ploy calculated to embrace the profits and eschew the problems – to the GM patent owners the profits, to farmers and consumers whatever the problems” said Dr Paull.

Mark Gower, General Manager of NASAA Organic.
“With organic standards prohibiting GMOs, any level of contamination from GMOs can have a huge economic impact on our organic farmers and food businesses. We’ve seen the devastating results of this interstate. People want the choice to eat certified organic food. Lifting the moratorium risks this important South Australian industry.” said Mr Gower.