Perception behind SA GM moratorium

KEY NOTE SPEAKER: Professor Kevin Folta will speak at the GROWING SA Conference this month.

KEY NOTE SPEAKER: Professor Kevin Folta will speak at the GROWING SA Conference this month.

A key note speaker at the upcoming GROWING SA Conference believes the state's GM moratorium is causing farmers to miss out on globally recognised technology.

Professor Kevin Folta from the University of Florida will speak at the conference, hosted by Grain Producers SA and Livestock SA in late August.

It comes as the state government considers the findings of an independent review into SA's moratorium on the cultivation of genetically modified food crops, led by Emeritus Professor Kym Anderson.

Professor Folta said the moratorium reflected the "precautionary principle" which saw technology shelved rather than advanced based on a perception of risk by those without a full understanding.

"When SA's moratorium was enacted, today's gene editing technologies did not exist, so they banned technology not based on science but because it is technology," Professor Folta said.

"It is insane to restrict any technology for decades... it puts SA decades behind dozens of other countries and the rest of Australia."

He said bans on technology had wider implications.

"Governments in the developing world are wrestling with their own regulatory decisions and when industrialised governments reject technology, it raises suspicion elsewhere," he said.

"When the industrialised world rejects technology, people without the luxury of first-world precaution suffer."