1 April 2015. Source: Ballarat Courier

THE Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia has launched the second edition of The Official Australian Reference Guide to Agricultural Biotechnology and GM Crops at last week’s 15th annual Science Meets Parliament event in Canberra.

The launch was a focus of the council’s first bi-annual meeting this year held at Parliament House in Canberra.

The updated booklet provides information about genetically modified crops based on scientific evidence. Topics covered include the science, performance, safety and regulation of GM crops as well as products in the pipeline and the commercial and market realities. The guide also gives a voice to farmers actually using GM crops and answers some common questions regarding stockfeed, the organisations involved in GM crop research, and food safety.

“Genetic modification of crops has been an unnecessarily contentious issue in Australian food and agriculture for decades,” Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia chairman Ken Matthews said.

“It is only through the consideration of hard research, market and health data, as well as the experiences of scientists, farmers and consumers around the world, that a mature and reasoned debate can be achieved in Australia. The Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia has developed the Guide to provide factual information about GM crops.”

Agricultural biotechnology is being put forward as part of the solution to some of the world’s biggest challenges including: a rapidly growing world population, climate change and growing pressure on natural resources such as water and arable land.

Over the past 19 years over 450 billion acres of biotech crops have been planted across 20 developing and eight industrialised countries representing more than 60 per cent of the world’s population. This 100-fold increase makes biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in recent times.

Despite the widespread adoption by farmers, the technology continues to stimulate considerable community debate.

The guide presents information on coexistence in farming and the on-farm management practices and systems currently in place that maintain the integrity of both GM and non-GM crops. The long track record of farmers using different agricultural production methods alongside each other both here and overseas reaffirm that all agricultural production methods can and should work to coexist to deliver the best of Australian agriculture.

The Official Australian Reference Guide to Agricultural Biotechnology and GM Crops is available online at www.