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2-Plants: Organic farmers in Canada fear that GE will destroy their market



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TITLE:  Organic growers fear gene-altered canola will kill market
SOURCE: Western Producer, Camrose Bureau, Canada, by Penny Yeager
        sent by AGNET, Canada
DATE:   June 10, 1999

----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/ ------------------


ORGANIC GROWERS FEAR GENE-ALTERED CANOLA WILL KILL MARKET

According to this story, farmers like Ray Bauml of Marysburg,
Saskatoon, believe they can get a premium price for producing
organic canola and selling it to European markets, but they feel
the crop is too risky as nearby conventional farmers seed
genetically engineered varieties. Their main concerns were said
to be cross-pollination. Bauml is upset, the story says, because
he feels his farming options are narrowed because it's against
organic regulations to seed genetically engineered canola. Bauml
was also said to be concerned about ramifications of research
into genetically engineered wheat, saying that when that
technology comes, organic farmers won't be able to buy seed from
many growers or get conventional plants to clean their grain, he
fears.

Darrin Qualman, executive secretary for the National Farmers
Union, was as saying he believes that companies who market
genetically engineered seed should compensate organic farmers for
lost markets. Bart Bilmer, biotechnology regulatory officer with
the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, was cited as saying the
agency knows about organic farmers' concerns, but thinks they can
co-operate with neighbors to ensure their crops aren't
contaminated, saying it is the same route farmers with pedigreed
seed have to take. The story goes on to talk about how organic
farmers want proof that there isn't any cross pollination with
genetically engineered crops and how bees can carry pollen for
many kilometres.

Keith Downey, research scientist with Agriculture Canada, was
cited as saying there is no safe distance to ensure zero cross
pollination, stressed the safety of genetically engineered
canola. Dale Adolphe, president of the Canola Council of Canada,
was said to believe European concerns may spill into other
continents.



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