October 17, 2003



Canada Government Torn Between Farmers & Chemical Companies In Legalization of GM Wheat


The Canadian government is walking a tightrope on the issue of approving genetically modified (GM) wheat, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) said Wednesday.


Caught between farmers and chemical companies, the government could approve the use of GM grain as early as next year; however with the present situation it's expressing doubts over hurrying the product to market, the CBC reported.


Monsanto is in the final stages of the process to get approval to sell genetically modified wheat seed. The chemical company wants to introduce the new strain onto the prairies, but farmers say the market isn't ready for genetically modified wheat.


Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief said he is considering adding market analysis to the approval process. But he also takes into account the fact that the government may still say no to approving the variety even if it has passed all the scientific hurdles.


Lyle Simonson, who farms 2,500 acres near Swift Current, Saskatchewan, believes the consequences of allowing modified wheat could be devastating for prairie farmers.


"It'll be just like Canadian cattle and mad cow (disease)," he said. "Nobody will want our grain."