20 Years of Innovation Marked by a World First for Australian Farmers

2/17/2016

 

Australian cotton growers will be the first in the world to benefit from the third generation of agricultural biotechnology - twenty years after the technology was first introduced to Australia.

GM technology has helped Australia become the world’s most sustainable and productive cotton producer. Since the launch of the ground-breaking technology in 1996, Australian cotton growers have earned more than $800 million[1] in extra income and reduced their pesticide use by 95%[2].

GM technology allows cotton growers to effectively and sustainably manage insects and weeds to produce some of the world’s highest quality and yielding cotton.

The launch of Monsanto’s latest GM technology in Australia, Bollgard® 3, comes soon after the launch of the Turnbull government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda aimed at boosting the economy’s global competitiveness.

Monsanto’s Managing Director in Australia, Daniel Kruithoff, said that Australia’s cotton industry is a world-class case study in innovation and is worth $2 billion a year to the local economy.[3]

“Nowhere is the rapid adoption of innovation more welcome than agriculture given the crucial role that farmers play in society – producing safe and sustainable food and fibre for a growing population.

“Australian growers produce the highest yielding and most sustainable cotton in the world thanks to their rapid adoption of new technology, improved management practices and the industry’s collaborative approach to sharing research and best practice.

“The industry’s relentless pursuit of innovation has equipped farmers with the tools and insights they need to compete globally. Most of the cotton Australia produces is exported to Asia demonstrating the capacity of local farmers to succeed in competitive international markets when they can access technological advancements,” Daniel said.

Daniel also explained that unlocking the transformational benefits of new technology cannot be achieved by any one organisation and requires long term cross-sector partnerships.

“Australian farmers would not have had access to our biotechnology if it wasn’t for our local partnerships with farmers, Cotton Seed Distributors (CSD) and CSIRO.

“We need to look no further than Australia’s cotton industry to see how industries can be transformed through innovation. Australia’s cotton farmers produce enough clothing for 500 million people[4] and employs 10,000 people[5] in a non-drought year which is a tremendous contribution,” Daniel said.

Almost all of the cotton grown in Australia contains biotechnology and is credited by the cotton industry as being crucial to drastically reducing chemical use, improving water management and enhancing the industry’s viability.[6]


[1] PG Economics report GM crops: Global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2013: http://www.croplife.org.au/media_release/australian-farmers-growing-gm-crops-gain-885-million/

[4] Cotton Australia Cotton Australia’s Australian Grown Cotton Sustainability Report 2014: http://cottonaustralia.com.au/uploads/resources/Sustainability_report_201114.PDF

[6] Cotton Australia media release (as above)