The Australian state of Victoria has announced a ban on commercial plantings of genetically modified canola. The ban will be in force for four years.

The premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks, referred to persisting deep divisions and uncertainty within industry, the farming sector and regional communities about the impact of GM crops on markets. “It’s clear there is concern about the unrestricted commercial release of GM canola within industry, in particular from many farmers,” he said in a statement. 

The move follows a statement from the state of Western Australia at the beginning of the week that it had banned commercial plantings of GM food crops in order to protect its “clean and green” reputation.

The move in Victoria has prompted strong criticism from farmers, reported Dow Jones. Farmers argue that the government has fallen victim to a scare campaign.

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