Growers in Canada and Australia have taken a huge first-step in agreeing to support an eventual commercialization of biotech wheat varieties, hopefully protecting them from international backlash if such a variety is introduced.
May 21, 2009 By Reuters/Agri-Link
May 19, 2009
Kansas City, Missouri -Farm groups from the world's top wheat-exporting nations report they reached an agreement late last week, on an agreement to support a "synchronized" commercialization of biotech traits in wheat.
Though any market roll-out of a genetically altered wheat would be years away, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) said Thursday it had signed up grain growers in Canada and Australia in a deal that would align the nations against any international backlash if and when a biotech wheat was introduced.
The united front also was intended as an invitation to biotech companies to push forward with biotech wheat development.
"This is a big, long-term issue for producers," said NAWG CEO Daren Coppock. "We agree it is in our best interest to work together. And we are trying to send a strong signal to developers so they can move ahead."
The key food crop currently lacks any genetically altered seed options, unlike corn and soybeans, which have been tinkered with by a variety of biotech agricultural companies.
Wheat farmers who have eyed advancements made in other crops say similar genetically altered opportunities for wheat could help them increase yields and become more profitable.
Tops on the wish list are drought-tolerant wheat and wheat that makes more efficient use of nitrogen.