Position Statements on Biotechnology

National Farmers' Federation, Australia (NFF)

The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) issued a statement strongly supporting genetically modified (GM) crops. In its position paper, NFF recognizes the potential of biotechnology, including gene technology, "as a valuable tool within agricultural production system".

NFF says the potential benefits of GM crops must not be overlooked and that Australian farmers stand to gain significant benefits from the use of these crops. "GM crops have the potential to reduce pesticide and herbicide use, increase water efficiency, tolerate adverse growing conditions and improve production yields", the paper said. But while potential benefits of GM crops are recognized, NFF advocates that producers should also understand and assess potential risks associated with the technology and implement appropriate strategies to manage such risks.

NFF clearly opposes any measures imposing barriers to the commercial release of GM crops that are scientifically proven safe and assessed by industry as favorable. Barriers to the commercial release of GM crops "may ultimately impede the ability of Australian farmers to remain competitive within the global market in the longer term".

"Farmers must be afforded choice in the method of production that best meets their business needs and best allows them to meet the expectations of markets", the paper said. "Any biotechnology regulatory system should not place unreasonable costs or burdens upon researchers and technology developers, or potential users or consumers of the product of biotechnology". NFF asserts that overall framework for the management of GM crops must clearly define the relationship between legislative requirements and industry expectations or standards.

NFF believes that agricultural biotech should be a top priority for both public and private sector research in Australia and calls for the government to develop an operating environment that encourages research and development of the technology up to the point of commercialization.
Other positions on biotechnology of the NFF are:

  • The commercial introduction of GM crops must be market driven, where there is clear commercial justification for the release of such varieties.
  • Regulations and systems implemented to underpin the introduction of GM crops should ensure that production decision of one farmer should not unreasonably impinge upon the ability of another farmer to produce a commodity meeting the requirements and expectations of their chosen market.
  • Factual and relevant information must be provided to farmers and the broader community to allow informed judgments to be made on the value of biotechnology. Results of field trials should be properly communicated to farmers.
  • Maintain realistic and practical policy on food labeling that will allow consumers to make conscious decisions on the food they consume.

For more about NFF's Biotechnology Position Statement, visit http://www.nff.org.au/pages/sub/biotechnology_position.pdf

International Support:

  1. International Organizations
  2. Africa
  3. Asia
  4. Europe
  5. North America
  6. Latin America
  7. Oceania

International Organizations

- Food and Agricultural Organization
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
- World Health Organization
- United Nations Development Programme
- United Nations Environment Programme
- Third World Academy of Sciences

- Agenda 21
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
- Vatican Pontifical Academy on Life

- International Council for Science Union

- International Life Sciences Institute


- International Society of African Scientists
- United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
- Africabio
- South African Minister Ngubane's statement at WSSD
- National Biotechnology Strategy for South Africa
- Former Kenyan President Moi's letter to US President Clinton

- Nigerian President Obasanjo's Statement


- Asian Development Bank
- Chinese Academy of Sciences
- Indian National Academy of Sciences
- National Academy of Science and Technology (Philippines)
- Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir's Speech at BioMalaysia 2002
- Policy Statement on Biotechnology (Philippines)


- Royal Society of London

- Prime Minister Blair's speech

- European Commission

- French Academy of Science

North America


United States of America

- American Medical Association
- American Society for Microbiology
- National Academy of Sciences
- National Research Council
- American Society of Plant Biologists
- Federation of Animal Science Societies
- American Midwest Farmers

  • American Agri-Women
  • American Soybean Association
  • National Chicken Council
  • National Corn Growers Association
  • National Cotton Council
  • National Milk Producers Federation
  • National Potato Council
  • National Turkey Federation
  • United Soybean Board


- Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee
- The Royal Society of Canada (The Canadian Academy of the Sciences and Humanities)
- Industry Canada (Federal Department of Industry)
- The 1998 Canadian Biotechnology Strategy: A Ongoing Renewal Process

Latin America

- Brazilian Academy of Sciences
- Mexican Academy of Sciences


- New Zealand Royal Commission

- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
- Australia New Zealand Food Authority
- Australian Biotechnology: A National Strategy (2000)

- National Farmers' Federation

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