Quarterly Update – Edition 16
- Council activity
- Key issues
- In the pipeline
- For information
FROM THE CHAIRMAN
Welcome to the latest update from the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia (ABCA).
I am particularly pleased to highlight a report co-commissioned by ABCA and Grain Producers South Australia, and delivered by independent expert market analysts Mecardo. Titled, ‘Analysis of price premiums under the South Australian GM moratorium’, the report provides clear evidence that the moratorium on genetically modified (GM) crops in South Australia does not deliver price premiums to any farmer in the state and if repealed, would not cause any loss to non-GM farmers. It is a welcome resource in what to date has been a discussion based on hearsay and anecdotes.
This report sits neatly in ABCA’s remit to ensure that the public policy and regulatory environment is guided by scientifically credible and factually correct information regarding the full benefits that agricultural biotechnology offers.
Much work remains to be done to ensure Australian farmers, like millions of farmers around the world, can access approved GM crops. Written submissions have been received and public hearings have been undertaken as part of the WA Government’s ongoing Parliamentary Inquiry into compensation mechanisms for economic loss to farmers in Western Australia caused by the unintended presence at low levels of approved GM material. Submissions from all Australian farmer representative groups have opposed the establishment of such a scheme as an unnecessary cost on grain farmers who choose to grow a federally approved crop.
Two very significant developments worthy of your attention include the commercial approval of DHA canola, a canola modified to produce omega-3 oil. Developed by Nuseed, in collaboration with CSIRO and GRDC, this canola is the world’s first plant-based source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, and not only does it have human health benefits, it aims to help relieve pressure on wild fish stocks, which are the current source of this important nutrient. Secondly, Australia’s food regulator, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), has approved an application by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to use food derived from GM Provitamin A Rice Line GR2E, commonly known as “Golden Rice”, in the food chain. This approval was followed by approvals from regulatory agencies in Canada and the USA. IRRI is hoping to commercially produce the crop in the Philippines and Bangladesh.
This edition of our Quarterly Update also covers the diverse array of research and development underway around the globe in agricultural biotechnology in recent months, ranging from higher-yielding GM rice, the benefits of GM corn varieties on nearby non-GM neighbours, plants that use less water and the identification of fungal disease resistance genes in barley, to plants that produce pheromones to confuse pests and beer brewed without hops.
Locally, I would like to draw your attention to a number of important events underway in the coming months which will focus attention on agricultural biotechnology across a number of different sectors.
ABCA provides a weekly summary of biotechnology news developments for subscribers. Contact ABCA to be added to the distribution list.
FOLLOW ABCA ON TWITTER
ABCA is on twitter at @info_ABCA.
NO PRICE PREMIUMS UNDER SA’S GM CROP BAN: SAYS MECARDO REPORT
A report titled Analysis of price premiums under the South Australian GM moratorium released in March provides clear evidence that the moratorium on genetically modified (GM) crops in South Australia does not deliver price premiums to farmers, and if repealed, would not cause any loss to non-GM farmers.
The report by independent expert market analysts Mecardo, commissioned by the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia (ABCA) and Grain Producers South Australia, aimed to undertake a data driven analysis of the presumed trade and marketing premiums achieved by farmers as a result of the South Australian ban on GM crop production.
The South Australian Government has continued the moratorium on the cultivation of GM crops until 2025. In extending the moratorium in 2017, the SA Greens’ MLC Mark Parnell claimed that it had “provided a significant price premium for our state’s farmers compared to other states.” The moratorium was extended based on the presumption of premium prices being achieved by South Australian farmers as a result of the status as a GM-free state, however no evidence has been presented, or subsequently found, to support the claims.
The Mecardo analysis compares, on a ‘like for like’ basis, agricultural commodity prices in South Australia against comparable markets in states where the cultivation of GM crops is permissible, such as Victoria and Western Australia. To ensure a thorough examination of the presumed premiums available to food and fibre producers in South Australia, the report analyses a wide range of agricultural commodities based on the value to the South Australian economy.
In direct comparison with similar markets in Victoria and Western Australia, where both GM and non-GM crops are grown, South Australian farmers do not achieve higher prices for their non-GM canola, wheat, barley, wine grapes, wool, cattle, or sheep and lamb.
Canola is the key commodity for consideration when it comes to the moratorium, as GM varieties would be grown in South Australia in the event of a repeal of the GM moratorium. The report compares canola markets in South Australia with Western Australia and Victoria because in South Australia the majority of canola is exported in a similar fashion to Western Australia, however, there are times when South Australian canola will flow into the domestic markets in Victoria. The report compared the price of non-GM in Adelaide, with non-GM canola in WA and Victoria, states that grow GM and non-GM canola side-by-side.
The report concludes that canola in South Australia is in fact reducing in value against the two states which are growing GM crops, contradicting the argument for a premium to South Australian canola farmers due to the GM moratorium.
With a GM crop moratorium in place in the state, Mecardo’s analysis provides evidence that not only is the ban not facilitating South Australian farmers achieving any price premiums, but farmers also don’t have the opportunity to experience the economic and environmental benefits of growing safe and approved GM canola.
For more information:
FARMER REPRESENTATIVE GROUPS OPPOSE ESTABLISHMENT OF GM COMPENSATION FUND
Written submissions have been received and public hearings have been undertaken as part of the WA Government’s Parliamentary Inquiry into compensation mechanisms for economic loss to farmers in Western Australia caused by the unintended presence at low levels of approved genetically modified material, which commenced last year.
Submissions have been received from around the world including from state and national agricultural bodies such as PGA of WA, Grain Industry Association of WA, WA Farmers, Grain Producers Australia, CBH Group, CropLife Australia, National Farmers’ Federation, Australian Seed Federation and Cotton Australia.
All Australian farmer representative groups opposed the establishment of such a scheme as an unnecessary cost on grain farmers who choose to grow a federally approved crop. Since the commercial cultivation of GM canola in WA, there has not been a single case of economic loss, domestically nor internationally, due to the unintended presence at low levels of approved genetically modified canola.
CBH Group, WA’s largest exporter of grain, said that, “since the adoption of GM canola to WA, no shipments of grain have been rejected by our trading partners due to the unintended presence of GM material.”
Further information and submissions are available online:
- Petition NO 10 – Compensation for GM Free Farmers www.parliament.wa.gov.au/Parliament/petitionsdb.nsf/($all)/D2CC6085F754AFDA482581EF00084FCD/$file/ev.010.170928.let.001.am.pdf
GM CROP WITH HEALTH BENEFIT APPROVED FOR COMMERCIAL RELEASE
Australian canola growers in some states will soon have access to a new GM canola variety following the commercial approval of DHA canola, a canola modified to produce omega-3 oil. Developed by Nuseed, in collaboration with CSIRO and GRDC, this canola is the world’s first plant-based source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Long-chain omega-3 DHA and EPA are essential for human and fish health. By producing this healthy oil with human health benefits, this canola aims to help relieve pressure on wild fish stocks, which are the current source of this important nutrient. It is anticipated that one hectare of omega-3 canola has the potential to provide the omega-3 yield from 10,000 kilograms of wild caught fish.
The GM canola has been approved for human consumption and use in animal feed within Australia.
According to media reports, South Australian grain growers are loudly lamenting the cost of their state’s ban on GM crops which prevents them from accessing this new and innovative technology.
For further information:
GOLDEN RICE FINALLY APPROVED
Australia’s food regulator, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), has approved an application made by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to use food derived from GM Provitamin A Rice Line GR2E, commonly known as “Golden Rice”, in the food chain.
FSANZ concluded that, “Food derived from GR2E is considered to be as safe for human consumption as food derived from conventional rice varieties.”
This approval in Australia and New Zealand was followed by approvals from regulatory agencies in North America – Health Canada and the US Food and Drug Administration.
Regulatory permits, public comment periods and stakeholder briefings have been held in the Philippines, and regulatory approvals are also being sought in Bangladesh by IRRI. Both of these countries are likely to grow Golden Rice in the near future.
GENE TECH REGULATORY REVIEWS – UPDATE
Regulation of gene technology in Australia is undergoing three concurrent reviews by three different areas of the Health portfolio. Many ABCA members have contributed submissions to one or more of these reviews.
The Technical Review of the Gene Technology Regulations 2001 commenced in 2016 and is being undertaken by the Gene Technology Regulator. This review aims to provide clarity about whether organisms developed using a range of new technologies are subject to regulation as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and ensure that new technologies are regulated in a manner commensurate with the risks they pose. The Regulator is considering stakeholder comments on draft amendments to the Regulations that seek to implement the interim option that best supports the effectiveness of the legislative framework at this time.
The Review of the National Gene Technology Scheme commenced in 2017 and is being undertaken by the Department of Health. The intergovernmental Gene Technology Agreement requires that reviews of the National Gene Technology Scheme (the Scheme) are undertaken regularly. The first review was held in 2006, with a second ‘lighter touch’ review held in 2011. This review aims to ensure the scheme remains effective, agile and supports innovation into the future, and continues to meet the objective of the Act. Phase 3 consultation closed in May on a preliminary report that makes 33 findings for further consideration.
A review of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code commenced in February 2018 and is being undertaken by Food Standards Australia New Zealand. This review will consider the application of the Code to the food products of new breeding techniques. Specifically, the review will consider the definitions for ‘food produced using gene technology’ and ‘gene technology’. Submissions to the initial consultation paper closed in mid-April and are being considered by FSANZ.
WA INQUIRY INTO COMPENSATION FOR ECONOMIC LOSS CAUSED BY GM MATERIAL
As noted above, the WA Government’s “Inquiry into mechanisms for compensation for economic loss to farmers in Western Australia caused by contamination by genetically modified material” is ongoing. Written submissions have been received and public hearings have been undertaken.
The Legislative Council’s Environment and Public Affairs Committee has not yet set a reporting date.
- Petition NO 10 – Compensation for GM Free Farmers www.parliament.wa.gov.au/Parliament/petitionsdb.nsf/($all)/D2CC6085F754AFDA482581EF00084FCD/$file/ev.010.170928.let.001.am.pdf
GLOBAL MEGA PEST DISCOVERED BY CSIRO
The hybridisation of two of the world’s major pest species, the cotton bollworm and the corn earworm, has been confirmed by CSIRO scientists. The cotton bollworm is active in Australia, Africa, Asia and Europe and causes damage to over 100 crops, including corn, cotton, tomato and soybean, with damage and control measures costing billions of dollars annually. The other pest, the corn earworm, is a native of the Americas and while it has a comparatively limited resistance and host range, in combination with the cotton bollworm, it is a significant emerging concern for global agriculture.
The CSIRO researchers have published their findings of the hybridisation of the two moths in Brazil in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
FARM INCOME AND PRODUCTION IMPACTS OF GM CROPS
A new research paper by PG Economics estimates the value of using GM crop technology in agriculture at the farm level. It follows and updates earlier annual studies examining impacts on yields, key variable costs of production, direct farm (gross) income and impacts on the production base of the four main crops of soybeans, corn, cotton and canola.
The article was published in the journal GM Crops & Food Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain.
HIGHER YIELDING GM RICE CREATED WITH CRISPR
A team of scientists from Purdue University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has used CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to develop a variety of rice that produces 25 – 31 per cent more grain and would have been virtually impossible to create through traditional breeding methods.
The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL RETRACTS CONTROVERSIAL CRISPR STUDY
Last year, a study published in the journal Nature Methods, caused controversy in the scientific community after claiming to find over 100 unintended large genetic deletions or insertions related to the CRISPR gene-editing process. Now the journal has officially retracted the paper after a thorough review found the main claims in the study were not sufficiently backed up by data.
- The original article: nature.com/articles/nmeth.4293
- The retraction: nature.com/articles/nmeth0518-394a
US AGRICULTURE SECRETARY SAYS “NO PLANS” TO EXPAND REGULATION
The US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has issued a statement providing clarification on the US Department off Agriculture’s oversight of plants produced through new technologies such as genome editing.
The statement says:
“Under its biotechnology regulations, USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques as long as they are not plant pests or developed using plant pests. This includes a set of new techniques that are increasingly being used by plant breeders to produce new plant varieties that are indistinguishable from those developed through traditional breeding methods. The newest of these methods, such as genome editing, expand traditional plant breeding tools because they can introduce new plant traits more quickly and precisely, potentially saving years or even decades in bringing needed new varieties to farmers.”
CAST RELEASES NEW ISSUE PAPER ON REGULATORY BARRIERS
The authors of this paper titled, Regulatory barriers to the development of innovative agricultural biotechnology by small business and universities, conclude that the current USA biotechnology regulatory system is a barrier to agricultural innovation, and that the regulatory system needs to be adjusted, or “public, academic, and small business entities will continue to be frustrated in using these safe tools to deliver useful products.”
The paper finds that academic institutions and small private entities have been almost entirely excluded from the agricultural biotechnology market, and it explains this problem by examining factors such as the problem of inconsistent and costly regulations – by U.S. and international agencies; poor regulatory practices that hinder production and commerce – and lead to trade disputes; and, unfair labeling practices that influence consumer perceptions and negatively affect research and development – especially for academic institutions and small businesses
GM CORN CROPS BENEFIT NON-GM NEIGHBOURS
A study by USA entomologists and ecologists comparing crop damage and insecticide use across four states has found that not only does insect-resistant GM corn control pests in the GM crop itself and protect non-GM varieties of the same crop planted nearby as part of resistance management strategies, it can control the target pests in other crops planted nearby, namely vegetable crops like capsicums and green beans, therefore reducing the amount of pesticides they require as well.
This research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. According to the authors, these findings have practical implications on farm, for example, plantings can be planned so that that other crops known to be attacked by these same pests – potatoes, and sorghum – end up near fields of GM insect resistant (Bt) corn. Another implication could be that these vegetables, rather than non-GM corn or soy, be used as the refuges for Bt resistance management that are currently mandated by the EPA.
INCREASED YIELDS, REDUCED TOXINS – THE GLOBAL GM CORN EXPERIENCE
According to a meta-analysis of 21 years of field data on the agronomic, environmental and toxicological performance of GM corn varieties, a total of 6,006 publications, undertaken by Italian researchers, the use of GMO corn has resulted in increased yields up to 25 per cent and dramatically decreased dangerous food contaminants such as mycotoxins.
The study, published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, analysed field data from 1996, when GM corn varieties were first introduced, through to 2016. According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), GM maize represented 26 per cent of the global maize crop, and the GM varieties were grown in 16 countries in 2016.
LIES SPREAD FASTER THAN THE TRUTH ONLINE: MIT STUDY
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a paper in the journal Science, which found that untruths posted on Twitter spread more rapidly and reached many more people than true information.
“We found that falsehood diffuses significantly farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information and in many cases by an order of magnitude,” said Sinn Aral, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-author of the paper.
Aral and his MIT colleagues studied how truth and lies spread online by looking at the diffusion of 126,000 true and false stories posted on Twitter from 2006-17.
- Subscriber access: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1146.full
GM TOBACCO TEST CROP USES 25% LESS WATER
A team of scientists from the University of Illinois have published their research results in the journal Nature Communications, after finding that their genetically modified test tobacco crop used 25 per cent less water for the same harvest after they modified the expression of a protein that regulates the opening and closing of stomata — small pores on plant leaves that let in CO2 and let out oxygen and water.
The research team boosted the expression of a protein called Photosystem II Subunit S (PsbS) to control the opening of the stomata.
The researchers believe the research can have wide applications because the PsbS protein is found in all plants.
“It’s definitely an important finding,” said Professor Kadambot Siddique, University of Western Australia Institute of Agriculture chair and director.
“The challenge for all of us in agriculture is to produce more, especially in the next 50-70 years because there’s a lot of demand, and water is the biggest challenge.
GM FOOD APPROVAL APPLICATIONS – UPDATE
The table below provides a summary of applications made to amend the Food Standards Code by approving the listed GM commodities as safe for use in Australia and New Zealand.
|A1138||Rice||International Rice Research Institute||Increased levels of provitamin A (Golden Rice).||Approved December 2017.|
|A1143||Canola||Nuseed||Omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid production.||Approved December 2017.|
|A1147||Cotton||Bayer CropScience||Herbicide tolerance||Approved March 2018.|
|A1156||Safflower||GO Resources Pty Ltd||High levels of high oleic acid in the seed.||Public consultation underway.|
OGTR LICENCE UPDATES
This table provides a summary of licence applications and approvals granted by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) in relation to agricultural biotechnology in the last quarter.
|DIR 163||Canola||Nuseed Pty Ltd||Altered oil content (omega-3) and herbicide tolerance||Field trial licence sought. Public comment on the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) closes on 26 July.|
|DIR 162||Wheat||CSIRO||Rust resistant wheat||Field trial licence sought. Public comment on the RARMP closed 12 June.|
|DIR 160||Perennial ryegrass||Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources||Fructan biosynthesis||Field trial licence issued.|
|DIR 158||Safflower||Go Resources Pty Ltd||High oleic acid composition||Commercial release licence sought. Public comment period closed 15 May.|
|DIR 157||Cotton||Syngenta Australia||Insect resistance||Commercial release licence granted.|
|DIR 156||Buffalo grass||RMIT University||Modified for herbicide resistance and dwarf phenotype||Field trial licence granted.|
|DIR 155||Canola||Nuseed Pty Ltd||Modified for omega-3 oil content (DHA canola)||Commercial release licence granted.|
The third issue of the OGTR’s newsletter is now available online. This edition includes a feature on the Low-level (PC1 and PC2) facility certification process as well as other regulatory news and updates.
PROMISING BARLEY FUNGAL DISEASE RESISTANCE OPTIONS FROM JAPAN
Australian plant pathologists have identified genes in a Japanese barley variety which may help combat common fungal diseases in barley.
The Yangsimai 3 variety was genetically characterised by the Australian Wheat and Barley Molecular Marker Program at the University of Adelaide, resulting in the discovery of four resistance genes to spot form of net blotch, two resistance genes to scald and molecular markers for breeders to track the resistance traits in their breeding programs.
CSIRO JOINS AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY FOR FERAL CAT CONTROL
CSIRO recently signed an agreement with conservation group Australian Wildlife Conservancy to begin research that could see gene-drive technology deployed on feral cats, which kill thousands of native animals every minute.
According to the CSIRO, “Essentially, gene drives are systems that can bias genetic inheritance via sexual reproduction and allow a particular genetic trait to be passed on from a parent organism to all offspring, and therefore the ability of that trait to disperse through a population is greatly enhanced.”
As a result of using gene drives, only male offspring would be produced by the feral cats. This technology is in its infancy, so more research would need to be done before the technology could be deployed.
FEARMONGERING IS SCARY, NOT GENETIC TECHNOLOGIES THEMSELVES
This article published in The Conversation by Isobel Ronai, University of Sydney and Kate Lynch, Macquarie University considers the implications of the Australian gene technology regulatory regime review. They argue that the proposed changes to the regulations will actually involve more oversight of genetic techniques, including CRISPR.
BOLLGARD 3 DOMINATES COTTON PLANTINGS
This article outlines the rapid uptake of Bollgard 3 cotton. More than 1000 growers planted 452,000 hectares of cotton across Australia’s cotton growing regions this season, and more than 95 per cent of the crop is sown to Monsanto’s genetically-modified, insect-resistant, Bollgard 3 varieties. This is just the second season Bollgard 3 has been planted.
WILL NEW TECHNOLOGIES GIVE GM CROPS A SECOND CHANCE?
This article by Jon Entine, Executive Director, Genetic Literacy Project, asks, will gene editing and other new breeding techniques provide a ‘second chance’ for the worldwide embrace of genetically engineered crops. The article highlights how:
- Anti-GMO activists have managed to block the developing world from adopting GM crops, mostly through political action in Europe, Africa’s largest agricultural trading partner;
- New Breeding Techniques (NBTs), particularly CRISPR gene editing that mimics natural breeding, may provide a regulatory work-around to open the door for a new generation of biotech innovation in the US, Europe and developing countries; and,
- Gene editing has the ability to create crops with higher yields, resistance to diseases, increased nutrition and more climate adaptability and has spurred interest even among biotechnology sceptics.
‘SEXY PLANT’ PROJECT AIMS TO REPLACE PESTICIDES
Researchers are genetically modifying plants to produce the sex pheromones of insects, which then frustrate the pests’ attempts to mate. Scientists have already genetically modified a plant to produce the sex pheromones of moths and are now working on new pheromones such as those of the mealybugs that plague citrus growers.
“For many species, pheromone manufacturing is difficult and expensive,” said Nicola Patron, from the UK’s Earlham Institute, which has received three years of funding along with scientists in Spain, Germany and Slovenia. “Bioengineering can provide viable alternatives to manufacturing, expanding the use of pheromones that will be much kinder to our environment.”
The pilot project called SexyPlant created a GM tobacco plant that produces and releases the sex pheromones of the cotton bollworm and navel orangeworm, both larvae of moths.
THE POWER OF A NON-GM LABEL, HOWEVER INACCURATE
Opinion: “There it was on the salt container label, the proud proclamation that the product inside was “non-GMO.”I looked at the label a second time and then a third time, not quite trusting my eyes, before telling myself, “But salt doesn’t have genes. Of course it’s not genetically modified. Why bother labeling it non-GMO?” Then I realized why: some consumers will pay extra for anything labeled non-GMO — and some food companies are happy to sell it to them at the higher price. Salt, though an extreme example, reflects this powerful and growing trend that affects both farmers and consumers.”
FIVE-PART SERIES ON GMOS AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
In this five-part series on GMOs in global food security, Devex investigates the role of GMOs in developing countries through the lens of governments, donors, scientists, and campaigners.
The articles in the series are:
- Are GMOs the key to global food security?
- Understanding the continued opposition to GMOs
- Who are the donors taking on GMOs?
- What are the political drivers for GMOs in developing countries?
- How do corporations perceive their role in the GMO debate?
RESTORING THE AMERICAN CHESTNUT WITH GENE TECHNOLOGY
Dr Will Powell, Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and director of the American Chestnut Research and Restoration project has been investigating the potential of gene technology to create a chestnut variety resistant to Chestnut Blight Disease since the 1990s, and with the discovery of a wheat gene, he has had success.
This article outlines the devastation of the Chestnut Blight Disease on this iconic American tree, and the process of using gene technology to restore it to its former glory.
BEER BREWED WITHOUT HOPS USING CRISPR TECHNOLOGY
According to the article, biologists at the University of California Berkeley have found a way to create the aromas and flavors associated with hops without actually using hops. The researchers engineered yeast strains that emulate the flavours that hops provide to beers. The team behind the new research employed CRISPR technology to make the new yeast strains.
GM APPLE DEVELOPER PLANS AGRESSIVE EXPANSION
Three non-browning GM apples approved for consumption in the US, have had an amazing entry into the market according to creator Neil Carter from Summerland BC.
According to an article, Carter said consumer surveys done in six store locations resulted in 92 per cent of customers saying they would be very likely or extremely likely to buy the non-browning apples in the future.
He also said they saw virtually no criticism of the genetic modification of the food, which he says is promising as the business looks to expand.
Carter expects the company will have more than 1200 hectares planted in Washington state by 2022.
THE IMPACT OF GENETIC ENGINEERING ON OUR LIVES
A series of articles examining genetic engineering’s impact on our lives from the Genetic Literacy Project. They are:
- Genetic engineering, CRISPR and food: What the ‘revolution’ will bring in the near future
- Animal breeders are blocked worldwide from using genetic engineering. Here’s why.
- Gene-editing advances put us at the dawn of a revolution in medicine
- Genetic engineering promises cornucopia of future products—but biotechnology critics take lethal aim
LIMAGRAIN MAY LEAVE FRANCE IF ANTI-GM SABOTAGE CONTINUES
Limagrain, the world’s fourth-largest seed maker, will consider moving its research activities out of France if field trials in its home market continue to be sabotaged by opponents of GM crops. The latest vandalism act occurred in December 2017, when protestors invaded test fields southeast of Paris and scattered non-commercial seed ruining a 37-hectare trial of wheat based on conventional breeding.
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB ADDRESS: MARK LYNAS – ‘SEEDS OF SCIENCE – WHY WE GOT IT SO WRONG ON GMOS’
Location: 16 National Circuit, Barton, Canberra
Date: 11 July 2018
Details: In the 1990s, Mark Lynas was at the centre of the anti-GM movement, organising huge groups of campaigners to take political action, wrecking GM crops and even attempting to steal Dolly the Sheep. Two decades later, and the legacy of Mark and his environmental colleagues work still lives on and the general public still assume ‘GMO’ foods are bad for your health or likely to damage the environment. But Mark changed his mind, and his latest book, ‘Seeds of Science’, explains why.
RURAL PRESS CLUB ADDRESS: MARK LYNAS – ‘SEEDS OF SCIENCE – WHY WE GOT IT SO WRONG ON GMOS’
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Date: 12 July 2018
Details: As above.
THE 2018 AUSTRALIAN COTTON CONFERENCE
Location: Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
Date: 7-9 August 2018
Details: Hosted by Cotton Australia and Australian Cotton Shippers Association, the theme for this year’s event will be “Pushing Boundaries.”
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland
Date: 12 – 16 August 2018
Details: The 2018 International Congress of Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control and the 51st Annual Meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology. This event includes symposia on insect resistance mechanisms to Bacillus thuringiensis; insecticidal protein structures; and, fungus-interactions in post-genomic era: advances and perspectives.
RESHAPING AGRICULTURE FOR BETTER NUTRITION – THE AGRICULTURE, FOOD, NUTRITION, HEALTH NEXUS
Location: Parliament House, Canberra
Date: 13 – 14 August 2018
Details: The Crawford Fund’s annual conference is a highlight of Australia’s agricultural development and food security calendar. Titled ‘Reshaping Agriculture for Better Nutrition: The Agriculture, Food, Nutrition, Health Nexus,’ the Fund’s 2018 annual conference will ask: how can we feed the world’s increasing population with a nourishing diet that promotes good health and at the same time minimises further environmental impact? Includes a session on iron biofortified cereals to reduce hidden hunger in Africa by Associate Professor Alex Johnson, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne.
Location: Melbourne Park Function Centre (adjacent to Rod Laver Arena), Victoria
Date: 15 – 16 August 2018
Details: CSIRO is holding its popular AgCatalyst event again in 2018, showcasing the latest science and technology in the agriculture, food and fibre sectors. AgCatalyst is described as highly engaging, entertaining and innovative, with live demonstrations of cutting edge agriculture technology, latest food products and unique networking opportunities. Attendees are expected from agribusiness, peak industry bodies, rural research funders and providers, universities, CSIRO and policy-makers in innovation
AUSAG & FOODTECH SUMMIT 2018
Location: Rydges on Swanston, Melbourne
Date: 3 – 4 September 2018
Details: The AusAg & Foodtech Summit 2018 translates Australian science into business, putting the spotlight on investment in agritech and foodtech innovation. The Summit draws together the agritech and foodtech ecosystem to advance commercialisation opportunities and foster relationships between stakeholders from each stage of the sector’s value chain. Key topics for this year’s event include: the Australian Agrifood tech advantage, medical cannabis and government regulation, the role of RDC’s in the AgTech and FoodTech Ecosystem, food Influences on the gut microbiome and opportunities in Ag and Foodtech in Asia.
Location: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Southbank QLD
Date: 31 October – 02 November 2018
Details: The annual AusBiotech conference has brought together Australian and international biotech leaders and stakeholders for more than three decades, creating a forum to reflect on the sector’s achievements and exchange ideas to further advance the sector’s standing both nationally and globally. The event has an agriculture and agtech stream, on 31 October, which will cover new innovations in gene technologies and nanotech and current and future application in agriculture; the challenge of agtech and science innovation to harness the output of the big data revolution; and, the recent achievements and future prospects in the development and deregulation of GM foods for improved human health.
Disclaimer: The Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia Limited (ABCA) gives no warranty and makes no representation that the information contained in these sections is suitable for any purpose or is free from error. ABCA accepts no responsibility for any person acting or relying upon the information contained in these sections, and disclaims all liability.