Independent review of the South Australian GM food crop moratorium

A moratorium on the production and transportation of genetically modified (GM) food crops in South Australia has been in place since 2013, and is currently scheduled to continue to 2025.


In 2018 the Government of South Australia commissioned Kym Anderson, Emeritus Professor in the School of Economics at the University of Adelaide, and research fellow of the SA Centre for Economic Studies, to undertake a review of South Australia’s moratorium on GM food crops. The purpose of the review was to “investigate the benefits and costs of the moratorium to the state of South Australia and to the state’s agricultural and food production industries, and to consider whether it is in the interests of maximising the state’s economy and of maximising returns for the state’s agricultural and food production industries for the moratorium to continue, and if so, under what conditions.”

Among the findings from the report include:

  • data on canola exports does not support the view that South Australia enjoys better access in European Union non-GM grain markets;
  • only traders of Kangaroo Island grain provided supportive evidence of market benefits to being seen as GM-free, and were confident they could maintain their grain’s unique identity if the GM moratorium was maintained for Kangaroo Island;
  • caparisons of grain prices across states suggest there is no price premium for grain from South Australia; and
  • the cumulative cost of the GM food crop moratorium to South Australian farmers is estimated to range from $11 to $33 million over the period 2004 to 2018.

A copy of the Independent Review report can be downloaded here.

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