New view of GM canola

A NEW report has provided canola producers with a fresh perspective on the attitudes of buyers worldwide towards genetically modified varieties. The report, by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, has found GM canola has a level of acceptance roughly equivalent to that of non-GM canola in most traditional markets. According to the report, GM canola is generally accepted as readily as conventional canola, and at similar price levels, in countries such as Japan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are Australia’s major export markets for canola. Price premiums for GM-free and organic canola exist in mainly small niche markets in developed countries with high socio-economic levels, the report concluded, with the exception of the European Union. Last week, lobby group WAFarmers announced that it had called on the state government to lift its moratorium on the commercial release of GMOs as part of a revised policy statement resulting from the group’s annual GMO policy forum. WAFarmers president Trevor De Landgrafft said the organisation’s policy had been cautious yet progressive for the past few years, and the new stance reflected world developments in crop biotechnology. “Advances in crop biotechnology have a lot to offer in solving some of the unique problems faced by WA growers such as salt and frost and, as an export state, it is important that WA doesn’t get left behind its overseas competitors,” Mr De Landgrafft said. Canola production in WA was estimated to have declined by 56 per cent in 2006, to 280,000 tonnes, according to Abare.

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