Richard Ha writes:
Two new GMO bills will be introduced in the Hawaii County Council on September 4, 2013.
- Bill 109, sponsored by Brenda Ford, would require that all GMO crops presently being grown must be terminated within 30 months. No more GMOs will be allowed after the sunset date. Failure to comply would result in a $1,000 fine or 30 days in jail. This bill would make criminals of farmers, which is just unfathomable.
- Bill 113, sponsored by Margaret Wille, would grandfather in all papaya and other current GMO crops in places where they are customarily grown. Otherwise, no new, open-air cultivation of GMO crops would be allowed. Violators would be fined $1000/day and responsible for legal, court and other costs.
It’s a valid worry. For instance, what if a plant is developed that emits a pheromone that repels insects? This would save cost and labor, and our conventional and organic farmers would be at a serious disadvantage compared to farmers on the other islands.
As another example, consider the sweet potato, which grows very well on the Hilo/Hamakua Coast. What happens if one day scientists are able to transfer a gene from the sweet potato and make Russett potatoes resistant to fungus? That would save 15 applications of sprays per season.
Papaya farmers worry that giving them an “exemption” implies that something is wrong with their product, and this could hurt them in the marketplace.
During the recent go-around of an anti-GMO bill that was shelved, people were very inconsiderate and even mean, and it did not have to be that way. That is not our aloha way.
It happened because our leaders allowed it to happen, and it is not something to be proud of.
None of this is anything to be proud of. We are seeing hype and fear. Why is our County Council not talking to the farmers?
Some readings on this subject:
By David Kroll, Contributor, Forbes.com
PHARMA & HEALTHCARE | 8/25/2013 @ 8:34AM |11,386 views
By Lindsay Abrams, Salon.com
MONDAY, AUG 26, 2013 04:42 AM HST