Monsanto Australia’s Managing Director, Daniel Kruithoff, said yesterday that the unfortunate legal dispute between Steve Marsh and Michael Baxter has been difficult for the families and communities involved.
The State Government intends to scrap an Act of Parliament that could be used to stop growers planting GM canola. The State Opposition recently said it would ban GM canola if it wins the next state election in March 2017.
WA agricultural and farmer bodies including the Pastoralists & Graziers Association (PGA) and the WA Farmers Federation (WAFarmers) are supporting the State Government’s efforts to allow farmers to continue to choose GM canola.
The PGA is urging industry and farmers to support GM canola in WA before it is possibly banned (Click here to read the article). WAFarmers is also calling on the government to act quickly to ensure growers can continue to access the technology (Click here to read more).
WA growers have rapidly adopted GM canola since it was approved and in the current season will plant the largest-ever GM canola crop in Australia. Nearly 40% of the state’s canola growers now plant GM varieties and 30% of the state’s canola crop this season will be GM.
Monsanto supports local industry and farmer efforts to protect farmer choice and allow farmers to continue to choose the production system that best suits them.
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Australian farmers continue to embrace GM technology in greater numbers and have now planted more than 1.5 million hectares of Roundup Ready® canola since its introduction in 2008.
Despite an expected 9% drop in the size of this season’s overall canola crop, local growers have purchased a record one million tonnes of Roundup Ready canola seed, up 15% on last season.
More than 436,000 hectares of GM canola will be planted this year, up from nearly 350,000 hectares last year. GM canola varieties now make up 22% of the canola planted in the states that allow GM canola to be grown – Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
Monsanto Australia Managing Director, Daniel Kruithoff, said farmers continue to turn to Roundup Ready canola despite a tough start to the canola season.
“Another strong increase in the area planted to Roundup Ready canola varieties clearly demonstrates the ongoing value growers see in the technology. Nearly 1,200 farmers will grow GM canola this season, 20% more growers than last year, and we expect this growth to continue.
“Roundup Ready canola boosts the productivity of farmland by providing growers with an effective tool to manage weeds which are estimated to cost farmers about $1.5 billion to control and an additional $2.5 billion in lost agricultural production.
“Growers are also turning to Roundup Ready canola to improve their yields through high performing GM varieties.
“It is becoming clear that GM crops will play a bigger role in helping Australian farmers meet the growing demand across Asia for our quality food and fibre, thanks to the growing acceptance and cultivation of GM crops across the region.
“Australian growers are facing strong competition in key markets such as China and Japan which last year imported $4 billion worth of canola, most of it GM, from Canada,” Mr Kruithoff said.
The share of Roundup Ready canola planted this season rose in every state reaching 30% in WA, 13% in Victoria and 11% in NSW.
For further information about Roundup Ready canola visit www.roundupreadycanola.com.au
Media inquiries please contact: Adam Blight, Head of Corporate Affairs, 0419 551 193
About Monsanto Company:
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world’s natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about our business and our commitments, please visit www.monsanto.com.au
 Based on Australian Oilseeds Federation estimates for WA, NSW, Victoria
 Department of Environment estimate
By Daniel Kruithoff, Managing Director Australia and New Zealand
Agriculture is once again at the forefront of the national conversation about Australia’s future prosperity. Having ridden the mining boom all the way to shore, sectors such as agriculture are being viewed as the next wave of economic growth.
Improved market access through free trade agreements will undoubtedly help drive demand for Australia’s high quality food and fibre, particularly among the booming middle class of Asia.
What is less certain though is the capacity of Australian agriculture to sustainably increase productivity fast enough to capitalise on the opportunity of becoming a food bowl for Asia.
Australian farmers have historically tackled productivity challenges including rising production costs, climate variability and increasing global competition through adopting the latest science, technology and management practices.
This record has served us well. However, we need to ensure complacency does not set in and that we continue to innovate our agricultural production systems.
GM crops are a case in point.
Since the introduction of agricultural biotechnology in 1996, Australian GM cotton and canola growers have generated an extra $760 million in income, according to an international report published by PG Economics.
Agricultural biotechnology has also helped Australia become one of the world’s most sustainable and productive cotton producers by reducing the industry’s insecticide use by more than 90% since 1996. Along with other technological advances and improvements in management techniques, GM technology has contributed to local cotton growers producing yields almost three times the world average.
The rapid adoption of GM canola varieties on the east and west coasts is helping local farmers increase yield and lower their carbon footprint. Last season canola growers purchased 55% more GM canola seed than the previous season and we are expecting to see the largest ever GM canola crop to be planted this year.
Globally, farmers have turned to GM crops in greater numbers every year since their introduction 19 years ago. About 18 million farmers in 28 countries planted GM crops last year to improve their yields, sustainability and incomes. And GM crops are now grown, imported and/or used in field research trials in 70 countries.
The world’s most sophisticated regulatory systems, respected universities, international agencies such as the World Health Organisation overwhelmingly conclude that GM crops are safe and environmentally friendly.
Now more than ever we need to equip Australian farmers with the innovative tools they need to be able to meet society’s growing expectations about how their food is produced and its impact on the environment.
And we have every reason to be optimistic about the sector’s capacity to meet local and international consumer demands and to feed a rapidly growing global population.
Australia’s long history of being able to use different production systems has improved the success and sustainability of local agriculture. Our advanced agriculture sector has allowed organic, conventional and GM crops to be successfully grown side-by-side in Australia for many years.
Based on this enviable record, farmers and consumers alike can be assured that local agriculture is successfully providing the choice in crops and food they expect.
Our farmers need a wide variety of tools, including GM crops, to produce the high quality food and fibre that they are world renowned for and that we rely upon everyday. The challenge of sustainably producing the food we consume or export will be overcome as it always has – by our farmers embracing agricultural innovation.
A recent study of food-producing animals, who consume feed containing GM ingredients, has found no detectable traces of GM components in the products derived from the animals.
Read the full article here.