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GMO FREE REGIONS & PRODUCTS: Victorian Farmers Federation(Australia) grains chief to push for GM crops



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  VFF grains chief to push for GM crops
SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia
AUTHOR: 
URL:    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200703/s1877960.htm
DATE:   21.03.2007
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VFF grains chief to push for GM crops

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) says the state's grain growers
are suffering in international markets because they cannot grow
genetically modified (GM) crops.

New VFF grains president Geoff Nalder says he will be campaigning this
year for the State Government to lift the moratorium on GM crops.

The Government is due to review the moratorium early next year.

But Mr Nalder, who is from Swan Hill, says the ban needs to be lifted now.

"It's limiting our potential to be able to compete in the international
marketplace with competitors who have access to that technology," he said.

"We need to have that choice, we're exporters, we need to be able to go
out there and compete on the international marketplace with products
that our competitors are growing."


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                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Arguments drying up
SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph, Australia
AUTHOR: Glenn Tong
URL:    http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/
0,22049,21415206-5001031,00.html
DATE:   21.03.2007
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Arguments drying up

Dr Glenn Tong is CEO of Molecular Plant Breeding CRC

FORTY years ago opponents to the introduction of fluoride in to
Australia's water supply were loud, aggressive and absolutely convinced
that they were right.

Fluoride, it was declared, was evil and a poison.

Today the benefits of fluoride are accepted worldwide and it is
acknowledged as the major factor in reduction of dental cavities in
Australian children.

Similar arguments were used about the supposed dangers of milk
pasteurisation, yet the benefits of this technology are now universally
accepted.

Against the background of global warming and the most severe drought in
100 years, it is therefore interesting to reflect that NSW and nearly
all other State Governments have a temporary ban on genetically modified
crops, which offer theprospect of growing wheat and other grains in
drought conditions.

A major international conference held in Canberra earlier this year
reaffirmed that Australia and the rest of the world needed to reappraise
GM crops to help increase food supplies and ensure food security for the
world.

Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum chairwoman Ellen Terpstra told
the conference that GM crops could have significant benefits in dealing
with drought, heat, soil salinity and issues relating to climate change.

These views have brought into sharp focus the need to rethink existing
State Government moratoria on GM crops.

Currently, all states except Queensland have moratoria on GM canola.

The undeniable reality now is that, particularly to meet the challenge
of global warming, we cannot afford the luxury of ignoring GM crops amid
this growing crisis.

Gene technology provides the opportunity to produce crops that can be
grown much more efficiently in drought areas.

Taking wheat as one example, 35 to 50 per cent of the world's wheat is
currently grown in drought-affected regions. New research into drought
tolerant varieties could significantly increase the world's supply of
wheat in the face of these harsher climatic conditions.

Investment in GM technology is long term.

Investment now will produce new plant varieties in about 10 years time.

Australians need to know that GM crops have been endorsed as safe by the
World Health Organisation and our federal regulatory body, Food
Standards Australia and New Zealand.

The more time it takes for Australia to embrace GM technologies, the
more advantage we provide to our competitors.


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