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Genetically modified wheat may provide problems for local Australian farmers and environment

Wheat is a part of many people’s diets as it comes in the forms of bread, noodles, pastries, crackers and more. Not only do people love to eat wheat but the farming and harvesting process provides jobs for thousands of farmers across the globe, including Australia which is one of the world’s leading wheat export countries.

However, new genetically modified wheat produced by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) is threatening to disrupt Australian traditional cuisine values, as thousands of farmers may lose their jobs or be forced to grow wheat in a new fashion.

Greenpeace, an international organization designed to aid in environmental conservation, is largely against the overtaking of local Australian crops by genetically modified products. In order to assist families who are affected by these takeovers, many Australians living abroad will wire money to Australia to help out.

Canada and Europe, both worldwide wheat market competitors to Australia, have both rejected the idea of harvesting genetically modified wheat, which makes the Australian farmers and Greenpeace even more nervous.

“[Canada and Europe] were not convinced by global biotech companies that [the process] would not contaminate their natural wheat crops and threaten their billion-dollar export markets,” Greenpeace spokeswoman Laura Kelly said. “The economic implications of [genetically modified] wheat are dire.”

CSIRO is strongly against the negative publicity that Greenpeace and other Australian environment protection agencies are promoting. CropLife, a United States group that represents the plant industry, jumped into the fray to back up CSIRO’s proposed genetic methods.

“[Genetically modified] crops have demonstrated over the last 15 years that they improve the on-farm environment while reducing the pressure to convert wilderness areas to farmland,” CropLife CEO Mathew Cossey said in a public statement.

Other scientists have vowed that CSIRO crops make no difference in the long run.

“In controlled conditions in a laboratory you can get marvelous results…but when they put [the crops] in the field there is zero percent difference because …all the genes are expressing themselves and it’s complete competition,” Maarten Stapper, a former CSIRO scientist, told the Australia Associated Press on Thursday.

Though the definitive answer for whether or not genetically modified crops will take over local farms and the potential results are unknown, local farmers are likely in need of assistance from family and friends livign abroad who can send remittances.