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7-Business: GM bans costly for Australian consumers, farmers and the scientific community



                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GM bans costing farmer: report
SOURCE: AAP / Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
        http://www.smh.com.au/news/Business/GM-bans-costing-farmer-
reports/2005/04/06/1112489546145.html?oneclick=true
DATE:   6 Apr 2005

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...........................................................................
please download CIES publications at:
http://www.adelaide.edu.au/cies/agbio/pubs.html
...........................................................................


GM bans costing farmer: report

Australian consumers, farmers and the scientific community would be left
behind if state governments maintained their bans on genetically modified
food crops, a new report has found.

Compiled by two academic experts for the Rural Industries Research and
Development Corporation, the report found Australia risked being an
agricultural backwater if it resisted the wider scale introduction of GM
crops.

And it found that non-GM crops would ultimately become a niche market
similar to organic produce today and fail to deliver major financial
benefits to the country.

Australia grows two genetically modified crops at present, cotton and
carnations, although approvals have been given for GM canola.

However, most state governments have put a moratorium on commercial GM
crop plantings because of concerns it may risk Australia's markets for
non-GM crops in other markets.

There are also concerns about segregating non-GM crops from their GM
counterparts.

But the corporation's report, from University of Adelaide researchers Kym
Anderson and Lee Ann Jackson, found the bans may be doing more long-term
damage to Australian farming and consumers in general.

They found Australia would be $37 million a year better off if GM crops
were adopted and the European Union dropped its effective ban on the
technology.

Even with the EU, Australia would be $20 million a year better off.

Although conceding these were small gains, the researchers found benefits
would flow on a range of fronts, from lower costs for the farming
community to a more concerted research program by the nation's scientists.

As more GM crops came into the market, and displayed tendencies that were
demanded by consumers, this benefit would grow.

They said as the costs of segregation fell, more countries adapted GM
technology, and consumers dropped their resistance to genetically altered
foods, opposition to the technology had to fall.

"Continuing a ban on GM production is becoming less defensible as these
conditions change," they found.

The report found there would be huge global gains if China and India
start planting GM wheat and rice (which have yet to hit the commercial
market).

The world economic gain with these two crops, on top of existing GM crops
such as canola and soybeans, would be in the order of $5 billion.

The EU ban leaves consumers and the economy across Europe around $4
billion a year worse off.

The report also found Australia's moratoriums could drive scientists, and
with them vital research, to overseas countries more supportive of GM
technology.

"Australia's biotech research and development industry - a potential
export earner in its own right - will be held back the more Australia
limits production of GM crops, and as a result many scientists may choose
to migrate to more-stimulating research environments abroad," they found.

"It needs to be kept in mind that maintaining GM-free status will likely
lead to a bias toward more traditional agricultural research that will
tend to be slower and hence less rewarding."

The report also found that those opponents of GM crops who believe
remaining with traditional technologies will produce a financial benefit
may be wrong.

It found non-GM crops would become niche products and have the same
market share as organic produce.



-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  CSIRO's omega-3 plants a world first
SOURCE: The Northern Daily Leader, Australia, by Rosslyn Beeby
DATE:   7 Apr 2005

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CSIRO's omega-3 plants a world first

A team of CSIRO scientists has achieved a world-first breakthrough, using
gene technology to breed plants that contain healthy omega-3 oils in
their seeds.

Omega-3 oils, which are vital for healthy brain and eye development and
also help reduce the risk of heart disease, are normally obtained from
fish oils.

"It's a research result that's addressing nutritional equity as well as
the bigger environmental issue of declining fish stocks," CSIRO Food
Futures genetics research leader Dr Allan Green said.

"Once suitable crop plants have been developed, we can take some of the
pressure off fisheries by being able to obtain these high- demand oils
from a renewable plant source."

The announcement comes as a new report has found Australian consumers,
farmers and the scientific community would be left behind if state
governments maintained their bans on genetically modified food crops.

Compiled by two academic experts for the Rural Industries Research and
Development Corporation, the report found Australia risked being an
agricultural backwater if it resisted the wider scale introduction of GM
crops. And it found that non-GM crops would ultimately become a niche
market similar to organic produce today and fail to deliver major
financial benefits to the country.

Dr Green said recent studies set the recommended daily intake of long-
chain omega-3 oils at 500mg, but dietary surveys showed most Australians
consumed less than one-10th of this amount - only about 30mg.

"Fish is expensive and so are oil capsules, so ideally we need to be able
to obtain this essential nutrients from a range of sources," said Dr Green.

DHA, or Docosa-Hexaenoic Acid, is a long chain omega-3 fatty acid that is
found in the body's cell membranes and can reduce the risk of type-2
diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer's and heart attacks.

Supermarket products such as breads, spreads and oils that are enriched
with omega-3 contain micro-encapsulated fish oils.






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