Farmers deserve GM choice: Whetstone

Farmers deserve GM choice: Whetstone

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For far too long our graingrowers have been held back by the GM ban and it's time that we caught up with the rest of the country, Tim Whetstone says.

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OPINION

The state government is committed to removing the moratorium on genetically-modified crops to help SA farmers grow the economy and create jobs.

For far too long our graingrowers have been held back by the GM ban and it's time that we caught up with the rest of the country.

An independent review released earlier this year found the GM moratorium has cost SA graingrowers at least $33 million since 2004 and will cost farmers at least a further $5m if extended to 2025.

This has effectively been a handbrake on our economy and it's time to release it.

We are backing our farmers to grow our agriculture sector, boost our economy and create jobs.

Lifting the moratorium will allow SA farmers to have the same choices as farmers in our neighbouring states, also giving them more tools to deal with drought and the changing climate.

We tried to achieve this under the existing act through regulations but unfortunately Labor, SA-Best and The Greens combined last week to block these changes.

In response to this, we introduced legislation which we hoped the Parliament would deal with by the end of this week so we could give farmers certainty ahead of the 2020 growing season.

I've been listening to our graingrowers who have been calling for this for years.

Related reading:Decision time looms for SA GM ban

Unfortunately, the myths that surround the GM moratorium have been falsely spruiked since it was brought in back in 2004.

The supposed price premiums never eventuated, and a price comparison from Friday showed our GM-free canola was instead fetching less money than our interstate counterparts.

Bringing SA legislation into line with other mainland states will also benefit the state by attracting and retaining research dollars, scientists and post-graduate students in SA.

The new legislation will designate Kangaroo Island as the only place in the state where the GM moratorium will exist.

This is in recognition of existing international contracts which identify the island as GM-free.

I am excited to bring this legislation before Parliament and look forward to giving our farmers more choice and backing them to grow the state's economy and create jobs.

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