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AIA Calls for Cohesion in Biotechnology

Mon 10, Oct 2016

As the area of biotechnology progresses at a rapid rate, Ag Institute Australia (AIA) has released a position paper, designed to inform and guide agricultural professionals.

Developed by AIA’s Special Interest Group (SIG), the Biotechnology and Innovation Policy Paper in particular calls for continued government support into this sector.

The position paper calls for the Commonwealth and state/territory governments, with industry, to commit funding to R&D into biotechnologies with a view to developing beneficial agricultural products.

These include technologies that improve human health, are more productive and adapted to a range of natural resource and environmental conditions (e.g. salinity and drought tolerance) and which have improved pest and disease defence capabilities that reduce the need for excessive use of herbicides and pesticides.

The organisation also calls for harmonisation between states with regards to legislation guiding biotechnology, to ensure no producers are disadvantaged in the broader marketplace.

AIA Chair Andrew Bishop says, importantly, the organisation takes account of emerging gene edit technologies such as CRISPR (read more here).

“This is such a fast moving area, it’s critical that we are planning for the impact of technology beyond traditional GMO’s.

“It’s even more important when you consider agriculture is one of those industries that could potentially benefit the most from advancements in this area,” Mr Bishop says.

In addition to government support and state harmonisation, the Biotechnology and Innovation Policy Paper also covers the following areas:

  • Regulatory transparency
  • Choice to adopt approved products
  • Development of protocols to allow co-existence
  • Education

You can find the Policy Paper here.

As the nation’s peak body representing agricultural professionals, AIA, through the Special Interest Group, is continuing to develop policy on topics critical to industry. In coming months more statements will be added, with one on biosecurity imminent.


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