GM technology helps to relieve pressure on fish stocks

Feb 14, 2018

Grain Producers SA is welcoming news that use of cutting edge science and technology in the grain industry is delivering a solution to a shortage of omega-3 in the human diet.
The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator – the organisation whose responsibility it is to investigate GM crops – yesterday authorised the commercial release of canola genetically modified for omega-3 oil content. The new variety was developed by Nufarm, CSIRO and growers through the Grains Research & Development Corporation.
GPSA Chair Wade Dabinett says global demand for omega-3 oil is far outstripping supply which is why it is important that science and technology has been able to deliver a solution that is far more environmentally sustainable.
“Omega-3 is only available in the human diet from oily fish and seafood but it is critical for brain development in children and important to body and brain function in adults,” he said.
“According to Nuseed, 1 hectare of omega-3 canola has the potential to provide the omega-3 oil from 10,000 kilograms of fish. This is significant because it will reduce pressure on wild fish stocks, which are already limited.
“This represents an opportunity to improve the health of potentially every export customer we have. However, it is disappointing that SA cannot take part in such a breakthrough because our growers are prohibited to grow GM crops.”
Mr Dabinett says the State Government continues to reference that the GM moratorium is delivering premium prices to SA but GPSA is yet to see any evidence that SA farmers are getting paid more for their grain or have any other market advantage because of the moratorium.
“This is an opportunity for SA to grow a premium product which will legitimately demand a premium in the market place and our growers are missing out. Instead, our neighbours in WA and Victoria will reap the rewards of a premium that SA could have also participated in.
“As outlined in our election policy statement, grain producers should have the freedom to grow whatever crops best suit their business – including GM. The current moratorium on GM crops is constraining business growth, and hence growth of the industry and its contribution to SA.
“We are calling for an independent review into the marketing advantage or premium purported to result from SA’s GM free status to be conducted within 12 months of the March 2018 election. In the meantime, the exemption to grow GM canola seed must be extended to allow commercial production so SA producers can grow their businesses and the state.”
For interviews: Wade Dabinett, 0408 686 092
Download the media release from the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator

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