Australia could ‘cripple’ export potential if GM is rejected, says U.S. professor

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A leading expert in potato industry research says Australia’s export potential will be crippled unless farmers embrace genetic modification (GM) technology. Professor Gary Secor, of North Dakota State University in the United States, says consumers’ fear of GM is unfounded and likely to fade as they realise the potential for superior produce. He says bans in South Australia and Tasmania may not be holding the states back yet, but as the world embraces GM that’s likely to change.

“As we increase the population we’re going to have to do everything we can to maximise productivity and be as efficient as we can, and I think part of that is GMO technology,” he says.

South Australian Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell says the states that shun GM have a marketing advantage, particularly overseas.

“The market we’re meeting, with our premium food and wine from our clean environment, is the market that’s growing around the world,” he says. “In Japan, in China, in the EU; more and more people are going for clean food, non-GM food.”

Secor rejects the minister’s view. “The people that you import to will probably accept GMO, for instance if you market to China they use GMO,” he says. “If you market to Africa, the African countries, they’ll all accept GMOs because they’re all starving to death. You’re losing out on those markets; I think he’s mistaken there.”

Read the full, original article: ‘Embrace GM or lose out in the global market’, U.S. professor tells Australia

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