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Advice to go easy in export-oriented Australia
Down Under Farm Federation Waves Producers Off GMOs

(21 July - Cropchoice News) -- The Australian National Farmer's Federation (NFF) has warned its members that "there's no use rushing in" to biotech crops, saying the current benefits of GMOs are questionable. According to NFF President Ian Donges, "in some of our developed western markets there is rejection of GMOs, and until that changes [biotech] might not be worth developing."

Ag exports account for over 20% of Australia's foreign earnings. The Aussies are competitors with the US, especially in some Asian and Middle Eastern markets. The NFF is a major Australian Farm Federation, which says it represents 120,000 farm enterprises across the country.

NFF's isn't against GMOs, it supports biotech research; but, says Donges, it's a question of priorities and more work. "We are advising people to be cautious... We need to keep up that research so we can see if this technology works here, and then we can think about commercial aspects." he told a producer's meeting.

The NFF's announcement was made as Australian lawmakers are considering a biotech bill that would loosen restrictions on GMOs. At least one Australian state, Tasmania, is fighting the bill. Tasmania has already passed a GMO moratorium and wants to carve out a GMO exception for itself in national legislation, to enable the island state to claim biotech food crop-free status.

Earlier this year state legislators in New York introduced a bill to create a similar non-GMO "island". Proponents see potential marketing advantages