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Canadian Grain Farmers Experience Irrelevant to NZ Arable Growers

The experience of Bob Willick, a Canadian cropping farmer who has recently converted to organic from conventional and GM cropping, is of no particular relevance to the New Zealand arable grower commented Grains Council Chairman Hugh Ritchie.

Hugh Ritchie and Federated Farmers of New Zealand National Board member Neil Barton participated in a telephone conference with Mr Willick who, supported by Greenpeace, has been touring New Zealand and Australia to talk about his negative experience with GM crops.

Mr Willick believes that New Zealand should continue the moratorium on applications on commercial GM release because GM crops have made his farm unprofitable.

Mr Ritchie reaction is that Mr Willick's conversion to organic farming was based on a commercial decision.

"Mr Willick found that his farm could be more profitable by changing to organic production, and that's fine. He had that option.

"New Zealand arable growers currently have little interest in growing the GM crops that are available to Canadian farmers because their industry is so different from New Zealand's. However we believe there could be considerable benefits to New Zealand farmers from the use of GM for specialist pharmaceutical use.

"Just as Mr Willick had the choice to move to organic production, whilst other farmers have continued to grow GM crops, New Zealand arable growers should be able to retain the option of growing GM crops if they see commercial advantage in it.

"Unlike Canada, New Zealand has rigorous approval processes that will apply once the moratorium on GM crops is lifted, concluded Mr Ritchie.




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