The South Australian Parliament has stifled the growth of the State’s grain growers, this week passing a bill to extend the moratorium on genetically modified (GM) technology to 2025.
National Farmers' Federation (NFF) President Fiona Simson said the move represented a monumentally bad day for South Australian grain growers.
“The Parliament has chosen to dismiss, to the detriment of farmers, established science that proves food made from GM technology is safe.
"It has also been deliberately blinkered to the fact that GM and non-GM crops have been coexisting, successfully, for some time in Australia and overseas.
Ms Simson said the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) — a respected regulatory body that relies on credible scientific evidence, had approved certain varieties of GM cotton and canola for release in Australia.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) also continues to assess GM foods to ensure they are as safe as their conventional counterparts, and has approved some GM foods for release into the Australian food supply.
Ms Simson said while grain growers in other State’s would continue to benefit from the herbicide resistance, increased drought tolerance and enhanced yields delivered by GM technology, South Australian growers would continue to miss out.
“Up to 90 per cent of South Australian grain is exported.
“Without GM technology in the toolbox, the ability of the State's growers to compete on the global stage and to increase their role in feeding the world’s growing population will undoubtedly be curtailed."
Ms Simson said what was almost as disappointing as yesterday's result, was that the people most impacted by the Bill, farmers, were not consulted prior to it’s development.
“I ask, is the South Australian Premier and his Cabinet colleagues afraid to talk to farmers?
“Really, we’re not that scary!
“Premier Weatherill, we stand ready to provide input on all issues, including water regulation, GM technology and everything in between, that impacts our industry and by association all consumers.”
"We look forward to hearing from you."