06/11/2007 - 14:56

Trial GE crops before recommending them: Chance

06/11/2007 - 14:56

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Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance has called on Australian companies to undertake independent performance trials before recommending genetically modified crops as a viable alternative to Western Australian farmers.

Trial GE crops before recommending them: Chance

Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance has called on Australian companies to undertake independent performance trials before recommending genetically modified crops as a viable alternative to Western Australian farmers.

Mr Chance said it was standard practice with any non-GM new crop varieties to conduct independent trials to determine yield and production performance before releasing the varieties to farmers.

"In WA, numerous field trials and evaluations are conducted on every non-GM variety over a number of seasons before it is released," he said.

"However, only small scale GM canola trials have been undertaken in Australia to date and more work needs to be done before any recommendations could be made to farmers on the benefits of GM varieties.

"There is no firm evidence, from the limited Australian trials, of increased yields from using GM canola varieties.

"It is pointless and misleading to compare Canadian performances with Australian, because of the different growing conditions.

"Professor Rick Roush's claims in media today about yield decreases in Australia are unscientific and simply wrong.

"There is nothing wrong with the yield of Australian canola varieties given normal growing seasons. Drought is the only factor that has contributed to yield decreases in Australia in recent times."

The Minister said recently the Consumers Union of Japan visited WA and sought assurance of a continuing supply of non-GM products.

"In addition, a survey of Australian consumers also documented they were concerned about the safety of GM food," he said.

"Time is needed to understand the effects of GM crops and it is necessary to leave our options open."

Mr Chance will host a GM Food debate on November 12, at Challenge Stadium to discuss the issues of GM technology as they relate to food and agriculture.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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