GROWER and industry groups in three of the world’s biggest wheat exporting countries have reaffirmed their commitment to developing genetically modified (GM) wheat.
Sixteen organisations representing producers and millers have signed a trilateral statement, pledging their support for the future commercialisation of biotechnology in wheat.
The group includes six Australian signatories: AgForce Queensland, GrainGrowers Limited, Grain Producers Australia, Grain Producers SA, Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia and the Victorian Farmers Federation Grains Group.
US signatories included the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of Wheat Growers, National Farmers Union, the North American Millers Association and US Wheat Associates.
Canada’s National Millers Association, Cereals Canada and grower groups, the Grain Farmers of Ontario, Grain Growers of Canada and Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association also signed the statement.
To date no GM wheat has been commercialised anywhere in the world.
Research in Australia into GM wheat has included work to improve drought tolerance, nutrient efficiency and yield as well as to modify starch levels for improved human health outcomes.
The signatories are calling for further innovation in research as wheat is “critical to food security”, representing about 20 per cent of human kilojoule intake.
A statement released this morning by the group said: “As demand increases, wheat supplies must remain abundant while meeting the highest quality and nutrition standards”.
“Advanced breeding and biotechnology will help protect the continued availability of wheat foods and ultimately offers the promise of improved products, more sustainable production and environmental benefits.”
The group plans to work toward synchronised commercialisation of biotech traits in wheat in the three countries and reiterated customer choice was paramount: “We stand ready to assist all industry segments to assure supplies of non-biotech wheat within reasonable commercial tolerances to markets that require it.”
The group also encouraged the governments of wheat producing and importing countries to maintain science-based regulatory systems and to adopt low level presence policies to minimise trade disruptions.
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/grower-groups-back-gm-wheat)