Growers on South Australia’s mainland are one step closer to having the freedom of choice to grow the crops that best suit their farming systems following the decision by the Marshall Liberal Government today to restrict SA’s moratorium on the commercial cultivation of genetically modified crops solely to Kangaroo Island.
Grain Producers SA has welcomed the government’s decision, which has now triggered a six-week consultation process under SA’s Genetically Modified Crops Management Act 2004.
GPSA Chair Wade Dabinett said the government’s decision to restrict the moratorium to KI reflected the findings of the independent review into SA’s GM moratorium undertaken by Emeritus Professor Kym Anderson AC.
“GPSA applauds the efforts of Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone in progressing this important regulatory reform on behalf of South Australian agriculture,” he said.
“We are pleased to see government take steps towards removing this handbrake on our industry and we look forward to an orderly transition during the legislative process.
“South Australian growers have been prevented from having access to the same leading technology their mainland interstate counterparts for more than 15 years.
“The independent review by Professor Anderson conservatively estimated the opportunity cost of the moratorium to SA’s grain industry at $33 million since 2004 for canola alone.
“Since the organisation’s inception, GPSA has consistently argued the moratorium offers little in the way of trade and marketing benefits to the majority of agricultural producers in SA and removes the option of using GM tools which have been independently proven to be safe and effective.
“We strongly believe that growers deserve the freedom to grow the cereal, legume and oilseed varieties that best fit their farming system, and thank the Minister for delivering this vision.”
The government’s decision to restrict the moratorium to Kangaroo Island reflects GPSA’s own consultation as well as Prof Anderson’s review, held earlier this year to better understand different perspectives and the moratorium’s current and future economic impact.
“The government’s decision will go a long way to attracting further investment in research and development in the state, given there will now be a true path to market for GM varieties in SA,” Mr Dabinett said.