Two Australian farmers with first-hand experience of genetically engineered crops are touring New Zealand to share their stories and warn New Zealand farmers about the risks of GE crops.
Green Party spokesman Steffan Browning, who is touring with the Australians, says there is increasing pressure to begin growing GE crops in New Zealand and that we need to hear about their experience.
The farmers will share their personal stories of moving from being open to GE crops, to experiencing the negative impact introduction has on their businesses and communities. They will discuss the issues of liability and co-existence and the contamination problems.
Farmer Bob Mackley has had his canola fields contaminated with his neighbour's GE canola, affecting his business and community relationships.
The second farmer, Julie Newman, now advocates against GE and argues that GE crops are the biggest threat to food and agriculture we have ever faced.
The tour has been organised by the Green Party in the context of intended applications for releases of GE pasture plants such as GE rye grass and clover, AgResearch's investment in GE research, and this year's upcoming agriculture biotechnology conference.
Julie was a conventional farmer on a 10,000ha mixed farming property and owned one of the largest seed grading factories in West Australia.
She has a strong agricultural background including being vice-president of Western Australian Farmers Grain Council for many years, and representing Western Australia on the Grains Council of Australia policy council and seeds subcommittee. Julie has come to the conclusion that GE crops are harming farmers.
Bob Mackley is a canola farmer in Victoria.
He is a strong community figure, a past district council chairman and a member of the Victorian Farmers Federation.
He was convener of a grain marketing group formed to empower local small farmers to get their crops to market and is past president of the Wimmera Conservation Farming Association.
When and where: August 11, 4pm to 5.30pm at the Old Library Arts Centre, Level 2/7 Rust Ave, Whangarei.
- © Fairfax NZ News