Primary producers on Kangaroo Island are seeing the benefits of the long-standing relationship between the Island's canola producers and Japan.
Kangaroo Island Pure Grain has for the last 10 years forged a very strong relationship with Palsystem Consumers' Co-operative Union, which sells food products to Japanese households through its catalogues.
Now 140 cases of wine from The Islander Estate Vineyards have been added to the Palsystem catalogue, alongside the GMO-free KI canola oil and honey that have been offered for many years.
KIPG CEO Shane Mills said talks were also being held to include GMO-free KI soft wheat or "biscuit wheat" for pancake flour in the Palsystem catalogues.
Soft wheat from Kangaroo Island has also previously gone to Arnott's to make biscuits such as the Tim Tam.
"A container of raw wheat has been sent over that will be released in August for the Japanese to mill into pancake flour," Mr Mills said.
Mr Mills said the Japanese had a great love of Kangaroo Island and its produce and were shocked to hear about the summer's bushfires.
Delegates were planning a trip prior to the coronavirus pandemic to hand over $75,000 in donations raised by its customers and suppliers.
$25,000 was raised by Palsystem, $25,000 by canola oil processor Hirata Industries and $25,000 from trading company Kanematsu Corporation.
KIPG meanwhile is pleased to report any Chinese tariffs on Australian barley will not impact on Islander grain producers as all of KI's barley goes to Coopers Brewery in Adelaide.
Mr Mills was however concerned that the lobby group Grain Producers South Australia is pushing for KI to lose its special GM free status.
Following the State Government's decision to weaken the State's moratorium on GM crops by allowing local councils to decide, Grain Producers South Australia put out a statement that its "clear policy preference is for the entire Act to sunset on 1 September 2025 and for Kangaroo Island to be incorporated in the proposed regime".
Mr Mills said Kangaroo Island would lose the premium prices paid by the Japanese and Coopers if the Island were to start growing GM crops.
The Japanese canola buyers pleaded with KI farmers to stay GM free on their latest visit to the Island.
"Our main selling point is that we don't have any GM crops on the Island," Mr Mills said. "Even if we did allow GM forage crops that would be enough to upset the apple cart and our relationships."
KIPG wants confirmation that KI will remain excluded from the State's GM rules until at least 2025 and that the council will not be asked to make any decision on the Island's status.