Business / Industries

Implications of biotech approval delays to soy growers

By Zhang Lei ( Updated: 2015-04-29 11:25

The International Soy Growers Alliance Forum was held last week in Beijing, with government officials, soy grower representatives, corporate representatives, and researchers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Paraguay, the US, Uruguay, and China gathering to focus on the global implications of biotechnology approval delays to the global soy trade.

The forum discussed the implications of biotechnology approval delays to soy growers and consumers in the Americas, Europe, some Asian countries and developing areas, explored the current characteristics of the global soy trade, and assessed the future trend of the global soy trade. The white paper, Global Implications of Biotechnology Approval Delays to Soy Production, Supply & Demand, was released during the forum. This white paper analyzes how the delays have resulted in trade interruptions, slower innovation, and high costs in production and consumption.

During the forum, Zhang Liwei, director of China National Grain & Oilseed Information Center's research & analysis department, provided his observations on China's Projected Soybean Industry Supply Growth Trends through 2020.

Attendees from the Americas believed that a very large percentage of the cost of future soybean production could be lowered or even avoided through the use of biotechnology. According to forecasts by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, within the next decade, approval delays affecting herbicide-tolerant soybeans will add $19 billion in extra costs, 70 percent of which will be paid by consumers and 30 percent by growers.

The representatives also indicated that it was of great importance to continually promote biotechnology in the future in terms of agricultural sustainability. Statistics show about 40 to 45 percent of the farmland in Brazil, Argentina, and other South American soybean planting countries are still covered with massive ineffectively managed weeds. Herbicide-tolerant genes of biotech modified crops are still greatly in demand to improve the quantity and quality of soybean production.

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