Last month farmers Peter Eggers and Matt Gehl from the Canadian National Farmers Union (NFU) visited farming communities around Australia to explain why Canada rejected genetically modified (GM) wheat in 2004. They spoke at farmer forums in NSW, VIC and WA.
‘It’s simple’, Eggers explained, ‘export markets don’t want to buy GM wheat so why would we grow it?’
Sounds reasonable enough. Why then is Australia is on a fast track to becoming the first country globally to commercialise genetically modified wheat? Especially when an industry report shows that at least 80% of Australia’s export markets have no appetite for GM wheat?
Grand Praire farmer Peter Eggers was an early adopter of GM canola back on the mid-nineties. Realising that it didn't bring any financial benefit, he stopped growing it and was subsequently investigated by Monsanto under suspicion that he was unlawfully growing their patented seed. In a reversal of roles, Eggers is now a plaintiff in a court-case challenging Monsanto's ability to patent seeds in the first place.
Matt Gehl is young fourth generation wheat farmer from Saskatchewan. Matt is concerned about the ability of his generation of farmers to have a voice in the future of agriculture – a voice that is being marginalised as a consequence of increasing corporate control over farming.
Read why Saskatchewan wheat farmer Matt Gehl thinks GM wheat is a doughy idea
Video: Grand Prairie farmer Peter Eggers explains his role as plaintiff in a court-case against Monsanto