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Focus On The Opportunities GM Report Provides

Published: Wed 1 Aug 2001 12:47 AM
Let’s Focus On The Opportunities GM Report Provides For Global Leadership
The Report of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification provides a huge opportunity for New Zealand science and business to come up with creative and novel solutions to address the concerns identified by the organic industry, the Chairman of the NZ Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston, said today.
“While we can understand the disappointment of the people who made submissions to the Royal Commission they shouldn’t see their issues as having been rejected or ignored. The Royal Commission has clearly said their industry is important and that it needs to be protected.
“The Life Sciences Network agrees that a viable organic industry is important for agricultural and economic diversity. But what we shouldn’t have is an organic industry which seeks to block off other people’s options and opportunities.
“In preserving our options we need to make sure the options for organic farmers need to be preserved as well as those options for finding real benefit from genetic modification.
“The challenge for New Zealand science will be to find smart ways of making sure organic agriculture and GM crops can co-exist. There are many ways in which this may be achieved. The Royal Commission has already identified separation distances, buffer zones, plant-type separation, technology barriers and sterilisation technology as possible options.
“Other possible solutions, such as ensuring compatible plant types flower at different times can also be considered.
“What we should focus on now is building on New Zealand’s international reputation as an innovative culture with a strong scientific base to its agriculture and biological industries and find the answers to the global challenges of co-existence. We would lead the world with the solutions we develop. We can actually use the knowledge provided by the science and technology of genetic modification to develop sustainable solutions.
“Organic farmers and scientists should work together to find novel solutions which achieve the goal of preserving options.
“The Royal Commission’s Report has recommended a process for finding those solutions and for making sure the results are underpinned by sound science. If everyone works together we can get it right and create a win/win solution to preserve and build on all our options,” concluded Dr Rolleston
Ends

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