Multi-billion dollar export markets reject GM wheat Australia exported 66.8% of its wheat (by volume) in 2010-2011. The leading industry body for the Australian grains industry, Grain Growers Ltd (GrainGrowers), prepared a market report for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) designed to “provide an understanding of what buyers of Australian wheat want from the Australian wheat industry”22. The ﬁnal version of the report, released in April 2011 found that GM wheat was “still widely regarded as not acceptable for the foreseeable future”.
The report, entitled What the World Wants from Australian Wheat, was based on analysis of industry
surveys and interviews with ﬂour and stock feed manufacturers in Australia, South East Asia, North Asia, the Middle East and Europe. In total, 31 companies importing Australian wheat and 13 domestic ﬂour millers and stock feed buyers were surveyed. They all remained anonymous in the report.
The GrainGrowers’ report ﬁndings are overwhelming. Key regions that buy Australian wheat are not ready to import GM wheat. According to the report, acceptance of GM wheat needs to be assisted in South East Asia, “there are signiﬁcant concerns over the introduction of GM wheat in the future” in North Asia, the Middle Eastern millers don’t think GM wheat would be accepted before at least ﬁve years, and Europe will not consider GM wheat in the foreseeable future.
Yet the GrainGrowers report fails to put a ﬁgure on the total percentage of the Australian wheat market that rejects GM wheat and the exact dollar amount this represents for Australia’s wheat industry. The missing information from the GrainGrower’s report on speciﬁc export volume and the dollar value of wheat purchased by country has been requested but this demand has
been rejected. A Freedom of Information request made to DAFF in December 2011 was also unsuccessful.
This is important information that should have been provided in the report to verify statements on market rejection of GM wheat and to calculate the potential costs of GM wheat to Australia’s wheat industry.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) data23 shows that, in 2010-2011, South East Asia, North Asia, the Middle East and Europe represented about 80% by volume of the Australian wheat export market.
This trade was worth $4.37 billion. From the available information it is fair to conclude that the buyers of 80% of Australian wheat will not buy GM wheat now or in the foreseeable future.
Information sourced Safe Foundation