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Just do away with it, says Flax Growers President
Flax Farmers Want GMO Variety Off the Market

(28 July - Cropchoice News) -- Canadian farmers want a university-developed GMO flax variety taken completely off the market. It's the first and only commercially-available biotech flax in Canada, where the fiber and oil crop is important, especially in the northern prairies. Growers say that if biotech flax is not eliminated, it could cost farmers income by interfering with exports to Europe.

The President of the Flax Council of Canada, Barry Hall, told the Saskatchewan press "Just do away with it - get it out of peoples vision."

The Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission agrees with the stance, and has joined the Council in calling for the GMO variety to be de-registered in Canada, meaning that seed would not be available for planting.

The variety, called Triffid, was developed by the University of Saskatchewan. While it has been available for several years, by agreement between producers and exporters, nobody has been planting it commercially. The Director of the University's ag research center, Rick Holm, says he's very concerned by the rejection and, now, the call for the variety to be entirely withdrawn. According to Holm this is the first time that farmers have ever asked for a University variety struck from the national registry.

The flax growers want to avoid the problems that GMOs are causing with other crops. Hall's Flax Council has concluded that there's little evidence that European markets will begin to accept GMO flax, whose oil is increasingly used in food products. Even if most farmers did not plant the Triffid variety, the producer associations are concerned that if biotech varieties are on the market that the industry will be faced with difficult IP issues and concerned buyers. According to Hall, "Why not just lower the profile? We (in the industry) are all in agreement on this. [Buyers' concern] is not going away."

SOURCE: Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Resource News International, AgWeb.com