SYDNEY, AAP – NSW is lifting its ban on genetically modified crops, in a move expected to deliver a multi-billion-dollar boost to primary industry.
Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the 18-year moratorium on GM crops would lapse on July 1.
He expects the state’s farming sector to embrace GM technologies, opening the way for billions of dollars in benefits across NSW.
“The potential agronomic and health benefits of future GM crops include everything from drought and disease resistance, to more efficient uptake of soil nutrients, increased yield and better weed control,” Mr Marshall said on Tuesday.
GM technology also has the potential to remove allergens in food such as gluten, improve taste and deliver enhanced nutrition, he added.
Its adoption is forecast to deliver up to $4.8 billion in total gross benefits across NSW primary industries over the next ten years.
It could also save farmers up to 35 per cent of their overheads and boost production by almost 10 per cent.
“This will be a key area of growth on our path to a $19 billion industry by 2023,” Mr Marshall said.
The GM moratorium was enacted more than two decades ago to manage the trade and marketing issues, but there had no issues in the past ten years.
Mr Marshall said there was “a robust safety system in place” and all applications to grow GM crops would be assessed by the Commonwealth Gene Technology Regulator.
Since 2008, when GM canola was approved for commercial cultivation in NSW, farmers had enjoyed cropping system flexibility and better yields.
Genetically modified cotton and safflower have also been successfully grown in the state since 2008.
There are no GM moratoriums in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. A moratorium in South Australia only applies to Kangaroo Island.