Monday, Nov. 4, 2002, CropChoice
guest commentary: A survey of members of the South Australian
Farmers Federation (SAFF) reveale80 percent want a moratorium on
the introduction of genetically engineered cropsd yesterday that
. 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 our concerns.
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 members.
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.