An online map produced by an activist group that publicises Australian farmers growing Genetically Modified (GM) crops has been highlighted in recent media reports. GrainGrowers welcomes any opportunities to talk with the community about why GM food crops are grown by some Australian farmers, but believe than an incorrect and out of date online map is not the best way to have meaningful conversations.
By having access to GM technology, Australian growers can have more resilient farming systems. The Australian public has been hugely supportive as farmers have faced the challenges of drought, flood and fires in recent years and GM crops are one of the tools growers use to be able to respond to these.
“We are aware that the map is online but as an industry, we prefer open conversations with the community about the work that happens on farm” said Brett Hosking, GrainGrowers Chairman. “My farm is not listed but for growers who have been targeted, it’s not fair to have outdated and in some instances, incorrect information being presented as facts. Nor is it right for any farmer to be put on a map for growing crops that have the tick of approval from the regulators.”
The grains industry is committed to sustainability and has been working on Behind Australian Grain, a framework that assesses the economic, social and environmental sustainability impacts of the sector and is working on the goals it wants to achieve for the future.
“It’s important growers, customers and the community are able to have conversations about the ways and whys of farming and how food is produced so that we are better able to understand each other’s expectations and choices. We welcome opportunities to talk about grain farming in Australia and think that’s more useful than a one-sided map.” said Hosking,
Australia also has a rigorous regulatory framework through the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator that assess the environmental and public health aspects of GM technology. The grains industry supply chain has measures in place that accommodate both GM and non-GM crops so that the freedom of choice is there for consumers.