11/01/2015

Studies Show New Zealand Farmers Ahead of the Game

 

After two years of serious problems with the Fonterra botulism debacle and PGG Wrightson’s herbicide tolerant swedes killing hundreds of cows, there is better news for 2015.

New Zealand's reputation is coming into its own as it leads the way in conserving a GE-free growing environment. Maintaining this strategic advantage is an important benefit of the land register proposed by Stuart Nash MP, supported by Federated Farmers. However it needs to go further and GE-Free NZ support adding a clause that would provide protection from capture by any overseas interests seeking to overturn our GE-free status for their own gain.[1]

Papers from Iowa [2] Nebraska [3] and Georgia [4] are reporting that farmers are deserting GE crops for non-GE varieties or different non-GE grains like millet. The shift away is due to reasons of high cost, poor performance, growing weed resistance and the development of resistance in insect pests.

There is also strong consumer resistance to GE and growing preference for GE-free food, leading to better monetary returns. The fastest growing grocery sector in the US is non-GMO, which is set to become one third of the domestic grocery market. [5]

“New Zealand farmers have kept their fields free of GE crops and are now seeing the benefits of staying with traditional non-GMO plant hybrids,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ.

“Their US farming colleagues are now, after ten years of poor yields and high cost of pesticides facing financial woes. It's little wonder they are seeking to move back toward non-GE crop farming."

The experiment with GE overseas has been possible because regulators have ignored scientific studies, and have not investigated farmers' experiences that show the serious illness related to a GE diet.

The New Zealand government needs to provide incentives and education for farmers to support them in sustainable, agroecological farming methods that will benefit New Zealand's economic growth.

The benefits of preserving New Zealand's reputation for safe, high quality food are clear. We must ensure that zero tolerance for GE seeds is maintained in the commercial farming environment. It is also time for industry to clean up the supply chain for animal feed and to refuse GE- contaminated imports.

The market opportunity for New Zealand farmers, and for the food and beverage export sector means we must actively defend our GE-Free status against local and overseas threats.

[1] http://business.scoop.co.nz/2015/01/08/federated-farmers-also-want-overseas-investment-audit-and-re/

[2] http://www.iowafarmertoday.com/news/crop/farmer-interest-in-non-gmo-beans-corn-grows/article_3f9ceace-8090-11e4-be38-5747c072ef34.html

[3] http://journalstar.com/business/milo-in-the-limelight/article_4b62b9fb-ae4e-5fef-ba02-385c8d6d0714.html

[4] http://www.producer.com/2015/01/rr-soybean-growers-opt-for-non-gm-canola/

[5] http://mobile.foodnavigator-usa.com/Markets/Packaged-Facts-Non-GMO-foods-will-account-for-30-of-US-food-and-beverage-retail-sales-by-2017#.VK8Hnidhic0

Media Contacts

Jon Carapiet - spokesman 0210507681

Claire Bleakley - President 027 348 6731 / 06 3089842

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