South Australia intends to lift ban on genetically modified crops

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-20 19:55:29|Editor: ZX
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CANBERRA, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The South Australian (SA) government has announced its intention to lift its moratorium on growing genetically-modified (GM) crops.

The ban, introduced in 2003, was due to end in 2025. However, the governing Liberal Party plans to overturn that, making SA the last mainland state to allow the practice, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) report.

It comes after a review by Kym Anderson, a professor at the University of Adelaide, earlier this year revealed that the ban has cost the state's canola farmers a total of 33 million Australian dollars (22.37 million U.S. dollars) in 15 years.

Tim Whetstone, minister for primary industries and Regional Development, said he planned to introduce the legislation to Parliament in early December.

"This is about giving our farmers, our grain growers the choice, it's not dictating what they can and can't do," Whetstone said.

The ban will remain in place on Kangaroo Island, which sits only a few kilometers off the coast of SA because of a significant international market for GM-free produce.

The decision has been praised by the state's peak lobby groups for grain and livestock.

"This moratorium has been a handbrake on our industry so we're pleased we're finally moving to line ourselves up with our Victorian neighbours," said Wade Dabinett, the chairman of Grain Producers SA (GPSA).

"We can now access the same tools they have available to them and we're excited about the change."

However, lobby group Gene Ethics' director Bob Phelps said that the winners from lifting the GM-free ban would be foreign seed and agrochemical companies and the losers South Australia's farmers and shoppers.