4, 2002, CropChoice guest commentary: A survey
of members of the South Australian Farmers Federation
(SAFF) revealed 80 percent want a moratorium on the
introduction of genetically engineered crops. Farmers
want the NSW (New South Wales) Farmers Association to
poll its members on the issue, as well.
With the proposed release of transgenic canola only
5 months away, farmers around the country are increasingly
frustrated that government is not listening to or addressing
While we fret over the very real threat of lost markets
because of genetic contamination, the executives of
various farmers federations are ignoring us, their grassroots
The results of the South Australian farmers poll are
even more shocking given that an October survey by Biotechnology
Australia showed that rural South Australia has by far
the lowest level of concern over genetically modified
crops of any region in Australia.
If a similar poll were conducted in New South Wales,
I predict that the response would be overwhelmingly
in support of a moratorium.
Arthur Bowman, a canola grower and chairman of the Molong
District Council of NSW Farmers told me: "The European
Union is our third biggest export market for canola
and they don’t want GE food. Many consumers in
Japan and China don’t want to eat GE food, and
many Australian food companies don’t want to buy
GE crops because their customers don’t want it.
We can’t afford to risk losing our markets and
contaminating conventional crops by introducing GE canola.
Containment and co-existance are impossible and if GE
canola is introduced, there is no turning back."
Bowman, I and many other farmers want the NSW Farmers
Association to listen to its members. In the spirit
of transparency and democracy, it's time to conduct
a poll of all members on the issue of genetically engineered
crops and whether a moratorium is in order.