GM canola and the market for Australia

Photo of a canola plant in blossom

AN IMPORTANT consideration for Australian growers about whether to adopt GM canola is whether the agronomic advantages of canola outweigh any disadvantages in marketing. Some 60 per cent of Canadian canola is GM. Canadian exports of canola, which are not segregated by GM status, have continued to increase since the introduction of GM canola five years ago and were 25 per cent higher in 2001 than in any previous year (www.canolacouncil.org/markets/seedexports).

Australian canola, which is still GM-free, is simply mixed with Canadian canola in Japan. The Victorian Government's Consultation Paper on Genetic Engineering-Free Zones found that the majority of Australian exporters reported that most importers in other export markets are not paying premiums for non-GM canola. Max Foster of ABARE suggests that premiums for non-GM canol a would need to be at least 10 per cent to offset the agronomic benefits of GM canola.