AUSTRALIA: US farm leader tells Australia to avoid GM crops

AUSTRALIA: US farm leader tells Australia to avoid GM crops

27 Jun 2001
Source: Reuters

MELBOURNE, June 27 (Reuters) - Australian farmers could capture a rising
share of export markets if they avoided using genetically modified crops,
American Corn Growers Association chief executive officer Gary Goldberg said
on Wednesday.

"We are losing export markets, to the EU and to Asia, because they are
taking non GMO. Those markets can be filled by your farmers if they take
advantage of it," he told reporters.

Goldberg, in Melbourne to address an Australian Institute of Health Law and
Ethics conference, said benefits from increased yields and efficiency from
genetically modified corn were more than offset by the market impact.

"None of the promises have come true and it is time for your farmers to
understand that the promises that have been made and will continue to be
made will not come true either," he said.

Australia so far produces no GM food crops, but agricultural chemical
companies have contracted farmers to conduct small field trials, mainly in
canola.

New Federal Government legislation to set controls over GM grown crops has
been condemned by anti-GM campaigners as inadequate.

Goldberg said in the Asian region the U.S. was losing sales in Japan, Taiwan
and South Korea due to the GM issues, and that corn prices in the U.S. had
slumped due to an oversupply.

"The technology does not do you any good if you can't sell the product," he
said.

Goldberg told reporters about 24 percent of the U.S. corn crop was
genetically modified, but cross pollination issues and the lack of
segregation systems compromised the other 76 percent.

U.S. wheat farmers are considering whether they will move ahead with GM
crops, but Goldberg said major buyers Japan and Egypt had already said they
would not import the modified wheat.

(C) Reuters Limited 2001.

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