AUSTRALIA, U.S. AND CANADA: Farm groups counter call for GMO wheat
Posted: June 2nd, 2009 - 7:58am
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan -- Farm and environment groups opposed to genetically modified wheat are countering a call from other farm organizations for biotech companies to commercially develop it.
Fifteen groups in the top wheat-exporting countries of Canada, the U.S. and Australia released a joint statement of opposition to GMO wheat on Monday. It follows the May 14 call by GM wheat supporters in the three countries for synchronized production of GM wheat.
"Genetic engineering for wheat would be a calamity for all wheat farmers," said Julie Newman, a member of the Network of Concerned Farmers in Australia. "Consumers across the world have already rejected the idea of GE wheat."
Monsanto Co shelved plans for a herbicide-tolerant GMO wheat in 2004 in the face of opposition from U.S. wheat buyers, farmers and exporters such as the Canadian Wheat Board that feared a loss of overseas customers. Major export markets in Europe and Asia are particularly sensitive to concerns about GM food.
The farm groups' main concern is that loss of markets will hurt prices for farmers, said Katherine Ozer, executive director of the Washington D.C.-based National Family Farm Coalition.