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New Corn Hybrid Could Benefit NZ Growers

17 January 2012

NEW ZEALAND - A new variety of corn that is suitable for organic and biological farming systems could benefit New Zealand farmers who rely on corn seed imports.

A new corn hybrid developed by Blue River Hybrids has been shown to protect corn from pollen drift including GMO pollen. The corn called PuraMaize has been developed through selective traditional parent - line breeding of corn plants which are able to block pollen from other varieties. This gene blocking mechanism is found mainly in tropical corn plant species, reports voxy.co.nz.

New Zealand farming sector has a zero-tolerance policy for commercial GE crops. This stand supports our clean green and safe food reputation, but in the last decade farmers have experienced a number of instances of GE contamination of corn seed, which have harmed farmers and threatened exports.

The corn variety gives farmers a solution in the fight against deliberate or accidental contamination of the food supply by GE constructs.

"This is a welcome development. The new variety has good yields and if grown organically has no chemicals. This is in stark contrast to GE grown crops which have unstable yields, are laden with insecticidal toxins and heavily sprayed with herbicides that affect reproduction and the endocrine system," says Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ in food and environment.

In the US 88 per cent of the corn that is grown is genetically engineered. This imported corn seed carries a high-risk of GE contamination for farmers and consumers. With the globalization of food chain, imports of US GE corn and soy foods have impacted countries around the world, including New Zealand.

TheCropSite News Desk



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