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Victorian farmers want delay on release of GM crops

(Thursday, Sept. 12, 2002 -- CropChoice news) --

Herald and Weekly Times, Monica Jackson, 09/11/02: Farmers in northern Victoria are, according to this story, calling for a three-year moratorium on the release of genetically modified crops. The Kerang members of the Victorian Farmers Federation in Australia will argue the need for the moratorium at tomorrow's general council meeting. The move echoes the sentiments of a group of Kyabram dairy farmers who last week tried to push the same motion at a United Dairyfarmers of Victoria district council meeting.

Boort canola farmer Steve English was cited as saying farmers had grave misgivings about how the introduction of GM canola would affect their enterprises and that the possibility of co-existence between GM and non-GM crops had not been proven, putting the latter at risk of contamination. Mr English said this created a huge risk for non-GM farmers and the consequences regarding consumer resistance, markets and farmers' rights would be totally negative.

He said Australia had an advantage over many competitors through its clean green image regarding GM and had gained markets in the European Union previously supplied by Canada.

Monsanto public affairs spokesman Brian Arnst was cited as saying the company would continue to develop GM crops and abide by Federal Government legislation through the Office of Gene Technology Regulator and that the VFF could not introduce a moratorium, only support one if it was introduced by the State Government.