GM crop ban to continue to 2025

Photo: File.
Photo: File.

The state government will not listen to Murraylands farmers who want to end a ban on genetically modified (GM) crops, Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell says.

South Australia's ban on GM crops was extended until 2025 last week, making it illegal to grow them in this state.

Even trucks carting GM seed have to drive through the Northern Territory to get between Australia's east and west coasts.

In Parliament last Tuesday, Mr Bignell said the government would do the right thing by South Australia.

"We will not be listening to a small group of farmers around where you might live, Member for Hammond (Adrian Pederick)," he said.

"We talk to farmers right across the whole state, we talk to food manufacturers right around the whole state."

He said only 221 of South Australia's 5800 grain growers had signed a Grain Producers SA petition calling for an end to the ban.

Canola was "really the only GM food we are talking about", he said, and no Labor government would allow several hundred canola growers to grow a GM crop at the expense of every other food producer and manufacturer in the state.

He suggested South Australia's ability to say it was free of fruit fly, phylloxera and genetic modification was more valuable, though he was unable to say exactly how valuable.

Mr Pederick had said it was unacceptable for the government to impose a 17-year ban on GM crops without consultation.

"The manipulation of the genetic make-up of animals and plants has been happening for countless generations," he said.

"Those techniques are often referred to as traditional crossbreeding ... selecting plants and animals with the most desirable characteristics for breeding the next generation."

He said gene technology was already used to create products such as synthetic insulin for diabetics, and that shoppers would buy products with GM ingredients every day without knowing it.

"They do not have any health effects," he said, quoting a report from Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

"There are no reasons to have this moratorium.

"It just seems that emotion gets in the way of reality."

The extension of the GM crop ban was proposed by Greens MP Mark Parnell.

The Liberal Party has promised to review it if it wins government next March.