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Climate change prompts GM debate

By Tim Jeanes, Thursday April 4, 2013 - 14:57 EDT

South Australia's peak grain body says warnings of more droughts in key food growing regions reinforce the need to end a ban on genetically modified crops.

According to analysis by the nation's Climate Commission, climate change has already had an irreversible effect on weather patterns across Australia.

The Commission says parts of the country's south-east and south-west have become drier with droughts to occur more often.

Grain Producers SA says farmers will be hamstrung if they cannot adapt to changing conditions.

Chairman Gary Hanson says genetic technology could offer more drought-tolerant crops and the moratorium should end.

"I think we should be able to use all the biotechnology tools and other tools available to us to meet the challenge of this prediction of lower rainfall and therefore droughts," he said.

"GM crops are one of those tools. Other farmers in Australia have got access to but we here in South Australia don't have access to.

"We are falling behind in being able to do the research and the on-ground testing of GM technology to find what varieties work and what varieties don't work so we can prepare ourselves for lower rainfall."

Agriculture Minister Gail Gago says the state plays a major national role in primary industries climate adaptation research.

But she says the Government will not lift the GM ban without compelling reasons.


© ABC 2013

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