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Expanding South Australia’s GM-free Markets in Japan

30 August 2013

AUSTRALIA - Minister for Agriculture Food and Fisheries Gail Gago has discussed further opportunities for expanding South Australia’s non-Genetically Modified (GM) food exports to Japan.

Minister Gago said Japan offers a receptive and valuable market for South Australia’s premium and clean produce, and met with the Chairman of PAL System – one of Japan’s largest healthconscious produce distributors – along with heads of their major suppliers.

“Japan has many consumer groups with strong views on GM products,” Ms Gago said.

“PAL System, established in 1990, delivers safe and healthy products to its members via a home delivery service in the Kanto region around Tokyo.

“They currently have over one million subscribed households, many of which have year-longpurchase agreements allowing members to buy regular grocery products at a stable price, while at the same time providing income to the supplying producers.

“South Australia’s clean food from our clean environment gives us a competitive edge in this market, and we currently export canola and honey from Kangaroo Island for distribution through PAL System.

“The South Australian Government’s strategic priority of Premium Food and Wine from our Clean Environment is backed by our commitment to our policy of prohibiting the commercial cultivation of GM food crops, and keeping these regulations in place until 1 September 2019.”

Chief Executive Officer of Hirata Industries, Shigemi Hirata, a major supplier to PAL System, said a large percentage of Japanese consumers want to purchase and support suppliers who are committed to growing non-GM products for the long-term.

“Our consumers want the right to choose natural products produced in a clean and sustainable environment and are prepared to pay for that right," Mr Hirata said.

Minister Gago said our non-GM crops attract greater market prices because of the exceptional quality of SA’s food sector and we will not be doing anything to jeopardise this.

“South Australia’s initial four-year prohibition on GM crops was extended in 2008 as the Government was concerned about the impacts of GM crops on the integrity of the State’s conventional production systems. Nothing has changed since that time,” Ms Gago said.

“Allowing the cultivation of GM crops in the current climate would have a negative impact on the marketing of the State’s food and wine in key export destinations around the world and result in missing out on such opportunities as the one with PAL System.

“Thanks to our non-GM status, there is an opportunity to work with PAL System and other likeminded high end consumer groups in Japan to promote South Australian produce.

“Government and industry have been working hard to increase the number of products in the pipeline and non-GM honey has proven to be a big hit over the last few years.

“There is potential for South Australian produce distributed through PAL System to expand into horticultural products, meat, wine, and possibly seafood from our clean, pristine and importantly GM-free environment.

“The State Government will continue to listen to the market and community and not move to lift the GM ban unless there are compelling reasons to do so.”

TheCropSite News Desk

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