Adelaide Hills apple and pear growers are pushing back against a proposition to bar genetically modified crops from the region. They claim the right to use GM varieties in the future would help them keep up with competitors.
In May, South Australia’s state parliament passed legislation lifting a 16-year-old ban on GM crops in the state, with councils given six months to apply for exemptions if they consulted with their local community and demonstrated an economic benefit. Adelaide Hills Council -and nine others- have recently voted to apply to be exempt from GM crops within their borders.
Adelaide Hills deputy mayor Nathan Daniell said business and association feedback was that allowing GM into the region could jeopardise local exports worth more than $10 million a year. But not all Hills producers back a GM ban, with the Apple and Pear Growers Association saying it could become a commercial disadvantage
Association CEO Susie Green said the organisation was “not supportive of the council’s applied retained GM (genetically modified) status”. “The majority of our members were keen to allow GM crops in the Adelaide Hills area,” she told indaily.com.au. “There aren’t currently any apple and pear GM crops available in Australia for growers. But really, if that technology became available in the future, the general consensus was most growers would not want to be excluded from being able to access those varieties.”
“If they weren’t able to access those crops, and growers in other regions were, then that could potentially put them at a competitive disadvantage to some of the other regions. So, even if the GM moratorium is kept in place across the Hills, our industry would certainly like the opportunity down the track … that we can revisit and have that conversation again.”