Majority of Eyre Peninsula growers support lifting GM moratorium

Majority support in crop survey

A majority of farmers across Eyre Peninsula have expressed support for lifting the moratorium on Genetically-Modified (GM) crops based on a regional survey last month.

The Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association released a survey to gauge the interest of growers across the region after the state government passed legislation which lifted the moratorium on production of GM crops in May.

Farmers were asked if they supported the lifting of the GM moratorium, and if they had any market advantage in staying GM free.

Almost 200 responses were received from farmers across Eyre Peninsula with 80 per cent in support of lifting the moratorium.

EPLGA president and Tumby Bay mayor Sam Telfer said these results were not unexpected and was reflective of data collected before the process.

"We're happy with the quantity and spread (of results) across Eyre Peninsula and had responses from all district councils across Eyre Peninsula," he said.

"Those in favour of the ban being lifted cited agronomic advantage, technological and trait development, and choice and flexibility for growers as some of the reasons for supporting, while those who were against the ban being lifted spoke about market disadvantage and contamination risks as some of their reasoning."

Mr Telfer said information pertaining to each council area would be provided to each council so they could decide what further steps, if any were required.

Cleve Rural Traders agronomist Sarah Meyer also said the results were not surprising as growers did not like being told they did not have a choice.

"To be able to have the choice and use the technology is a step forward," she said.

While it opened the door further for genetically-modified crops to be used in the region, Mrs Meyer said it would be up to individual growers as to whether they were suitable for their properties.

"It's not as simple as saying 'yes I want to grow GM canola'," she said.

"It's a piece of the puzzle and they just need to see if the piece fits for them."

Meanwhile, Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone has instructed councils across South Australia they have until the end of September to provide any potential application for consideration of a Genetically-Modified ban continuing.

The final decision sits with the minister.