"Soybean productivity in Brazil surpassed that of the United States this year, thanks to technological advances in agriculture which did not include the use of genetically modified crops." (item 3) And you can earn a premium! (item 1)
1. Archer Daniels Midland to offer another non-GMO premium Dec. 1
2. Netherlands : Demand Surges for Non-GMO Animal Feed in Europe
3. GOV'T BOOSTS SOY CROP WITHOUT TRANSGENICS
1. ADM to offer another non-GMO premium Dec. 1
Oct 10, 2001 (FWN Financial via COMTEX)
By Lyle Niedens
[in reading the following it may be useful to bear in mind Cargill's financial connections with Monsanto]
While the European Commission considers lifting a moratorium on the approval of new genetically modified organisms, the biggest U.S. soybean processor soon will offer a new price premium for non-GMO soybeans at its largest processing facility. U.S. grain market sources have confirmed that beginning Dec. 1, Archer Daniels Midland, the Decatur, Ill.-based agribusiness behemoth, will pay a 20-cent-per-bushel premium for non-GMO soybeans to crush at its Decatur processing plant. That means if producers and other grain deliverers can prove their soybean loads contain no GMO ingredients, they'll receive 20 cents per bushel more than ADM's standard bid for soybeans delivered to Decatur. Lew Batchelder, an ADM marketing official, would not comment on the new program. But he acknowledged that ADM already pays more for non- GMO grain in myriad cases. "We have premium programs under way all the time," Batchelder said. ADM currently pays a 10-cent-per-bushel premium for non-GMO soybeans at many of its ADM/Growmark river elevators. ADM's alliance with Growmark, dating to 1985, includes 40 interior elevators and four export terminals totaling 70 million bushels of storage. In addition, ADM generally pays a premium of 6-12 cents per bushel for non-GMO corn at many at of its river terminals.
ADM's practice of offering premiums for grain without non-GMO grain stems from the preference of some customers.
Those buyers desire processed food ingredients without the perceived taint of biotech ingredients. Hain Celestial Foods, maker of Celestial Seasonings teas and Terra Chips, is perhaps the highest-profile U.S. food company proclaiming its products contain no GMO ingredients. Given the difficulty many farmers and grain elevators have in segregating non-GMO grain loads from biotech grain, many large food companies have expressed skepticism at Hain's claim that it is entirely GMO-free. Several companies, including Strategic Diagnostics of Newark, Del., sell kits that test for even traces of GMO ingredients. But those tests usually review only a small sample of a truck trailer or railcar full of grain. Some biotech seeds protect crops from a variety of predators, such as insects and other pests, whereas others protect against post-emergence herbicide and pesticide applications. The Food and Drug Administration has approved most biotech grain for human consumption, and no documented sicknesses from eating food with GMO ingredients has occurred since biotech grain seeds first hit farmers' hands in the mid-1990s. However, critics charge that biotech seed companies, including Monsanto Co., rushed their products to market without adequately researching how they might affect consumers and the environment. Europe, in particular, has revolted against biotech food. Its concern led ADM and other grain processors to start segregating grain two years ago.
Although the U.S. has approved 40 genetically modified crops, the European Commission has approved just 21. That soon could change, though. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the EU is willing to lift a 3-year-old ban on approving new GMO products -- as long as the U.S. doesn't resist strict EU labeling rules for food containing biotech ingredients. But food processors on both continents oppose the EU's proposal. Meanwhile, ADM's newest premium further marks a distinction between the company and its largest soy processing rival, Minneapolis- based Cargill Inc., which does not offer premiums for non-GMO grain. Combined, the two agribusiness giants control a little more than half of the U.S. soybean processing market, with ADM crushing about 1.7 million bushels of soybeans each day and Cargill processing another 1.1 million daily. But Cargill officials claim they do not need to offer premiums to secure non-GMO soybeans or reassure customers. "We do not grant any discounts for non-GMO products," said Bill Brady, a Cargill spokesman. "However, some of our customers are willing to pay a premium for products made with non-GMO crops. We work with our suppliers to make sure they have the opportunity to capture those premiums. "The bottom line is that each individual farmer must decide whether it is worth his or her time and effort to preserve the identity of non-genetically enhanced crops for a market that may or may not develop any size or momentum. Niche markets are not for everyone, and premiums in these types of markets can change quickly and significantly." --- Lyle Niedens, FWN, Tel: 913-693-7524 lniedensfwn.com (C) Copyright 2001 FWN -0- The Bridge ID for this story is 45143 Copyright 2001
2. Netherlands : Demand Surges for Non-GMO Animal Feed in Europe (dated 09/10/01)
Source : Reuters
Amsterdam, Oct 8 - European demand for animal feed guaranteed to be free of genetically modified organisms (GMO) has soared this year after supermarkets agreed to pay more to satisfy worried consumers, a certification firm said on Monday.
British supermarket chains such as Tesco and Asda are trailblazers in selling meat raised without GMOs, but the trend is rapidly spreading to the continent.
About four million tonnes of non-biotech soymeal, mostly from Brazil, was guaranteed this year by certification firm Cert ID (www.cert-id.com), up from 700,000 tonnes in 2000, President Jochen Koester told Reuters.
The amount could more than double next year if buyers were willing to pay the higher prices for certified material, he added in a telephone interview. "If the demand would be there, I think we can easily crank up the certified amount from Brazil to 10 million tonnes and more annually," Koester said.
Soymeal is a major ingredient in animal feed and increasing soy supplies are from GM crops. Many consumers are worried that GMOs might damage their health or the environment.
GMOs erupted as a major issue in Europe in 1998 and several UK retailers promised to sell non-GM meat. They had failed, however, to realise the complex arrangements needed for certification and balked at paying higher prices. Several UK retailers agreed late last year to pay extra, opening the way for the big increase in supplies of certified non-GMO soymeal, Koester said.
Total demand in the European Union for soymeal certified as non-GMO was unclear, but a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this year estimated it at 20-25 percent of the roughly 28 million tonnes used annually.
BRAZIL MAJOR SOURCE
Since about 70 percent of the U.S. soybean crop is planted with GM Roundup Ready soybeans, Brazil, which bans GMO crops, has become the major source of non-biotech soymeal.
Some industry players have been wary about how many Brazilian farmers have illegally planted GMO crops to boost yields, especially in the south which borders Argentina, where 90-95 percent of soybeans are from genetic crops. But Koester said the worries were overdone. "There is a big myth about that. All of Brazil has on average contamination from illegal GMOs of about 6-8 percent, and that is mostly in the extreme south where some regions have perhaps up to 35 percent," he said. Even in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, where contamination is highest, Cert ID has granted non-GMO certification to some smaller cooperatives. Most certified output is from the central states.
Brazil is the second biggest soybean producer after the United States, responsible for about a fifth of global output. Last week, a Brazilian trade group estimated production in the 2001/02 season at a record 38.4 million tonnes, up 12.5 percent from 2000/01.
Of the four million tonnes of soymeal certified this year, all was from Brazil except 500,000 tonnes from India, which also bans GMO crops and has the potential to boost its certified supplies of non-GMO soymeal, Koester said. It was unclear how many Brazilian suppliers would be certified in time for the next harvest that begins in February.
Some buyers were still reluctant to pay a premium, so some of this year's four million tonnes from certified farms was sold as standard soymeal. Koester declined to discuss the level of premiums, but the USDA report pegged them at $1.50 to $4.00 per tonne.
DEMAND SPREADS FROM BRITAIN
Demand for more expensive certified soymeal to produce non-GMO meat was highest in Britain, where supermarkets enjoy higher margins than on the continent, but interest was growing elsewhere. "Each country has a different motivation and agenda, but it is going to happen throughout Europe," he said.
A meeting took place on Monday on the GMO issue by a newly formed Quality and Safety group sponsored by Germany's food retailers and producers, Koester said. Denmark, the world's biggest pork exporter, was making major efforts to go in the GM direction.
The increase in interest was especially evident at the recent congress of the International Association of Seed Crushers in Sydney. "Major international suppliers who only six to nine months ago would not want to discuss anything about a GMO, are now either seriously looking at it or already selling it (non-GMO soymeal)," he said.
Cert ID sets up systems that ensure that GMO contamination is not more than 0.1 percent, much less than the one percent level required by the EU to label a product GMO-free. The scheme also provides traceability back to the farm level. It is impossible to guarantee zero contamination without testing every single soybean, Koester said.
Cert ID is a joint venture of Genetic ID - based in Germany, the United States and Japan - and Britain's Law Laboratories Ltd. Koester is also executive vice president of Genetic ID (www.genetic-id.com).
3. AGRICULTURE-BRAZIL: GOV'T BOOSTS SOY CROP WITHOUT TRANSGENICS
By Mario Osava
RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 8
Inter Press Service October 8, 2001, Monday
Soybean productivity in Brazil surpassed that of the United States this year, thanks to technological advances in agriculture which did not include the use of genetically modified crops. Until 30 years ago, soybeans, which originated in northern China, could only be grown in temperate or subtropical climates at latitudes of 30 degrees or higher. But in the past three decades, Brazil has not only been successful in growing soybean in a tropical climate, but has attained a high level of productivity that has made it the world's second-biggest producer, without turning to the genetically modified seeds widely used by its two biggest competitors, Argentina and the United States. Brazil's productivity averaged 2,708 kgs per hectare this year, compared to 2,594 kgs per hectare in the United States, as calculated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Brazil's savannahs, known as "cerrados," which in the past were regarded as infertile, have turned out to be good cropland. In fact, the central-western state of Mato Grosso became the country's biggest producer of soybean last year, posting the highest productivity level: 2,999 kgs per hectare this year. That is due to technological advances like the development of new varieties of seeds and new fertilizer and pest and weed control techniques, Amelio Dall'Agnol, a researcher at the governmental Brazilian Company of Agricultural Research (EMBRAPA), told IPS.
EMBRAPA has 40 specialized research centers. The one where Dall'Agnol has worked since it was founded in 1975 is based in Londrina, in the southern state of Parana, and specializes in soybeans. "As much technology has been incorporated into Brazilian soybean as in today's new computers," said Carlos Henrique Cruz, president of the State of Sao Paulo Research Support Foundation, one of Brazil's leading science and technology research institutions. Without high-technology, soybeans, which come from a temperate climate, could not be produced in competitive conditions in northern Brazil, just below the equator, he pointed out, while criticizing the prevailing mentality that focuses on providing incentives only for scientific advances in industry. The low priority put on farm technology in Brazil has led to a ranking of 43 out of 72 nations listed by the United Nations in terms of technological advances, said Cruz. The high productivity of soybeans grown on Brazil's cerrados is also the result of an accumulation of successful experiences and growing expertise, as well as the financial resources of agribusiness companies based in southern Brazil, which have moved to that area, especially Mato Grosso. Flat land that favors mechanization, new fertilization techniques involving the inoculation of seeds with bacteria, and the development of industrial-scale transportation and other infrastructure have helped ensure the success of soybean-growing in Brazil's tropical regions, Cruz noted.
The use of nitrogen-fixing bacteria was a revolutionary advance achieved by Johanna Dobereiner, a prominent researcher in Brazil who died last year, that cut the costs of producing soybeans by eliminating expenditure on fertilizers. In addition, inoculation is more effective, because it avoids the loss of fertilizers that evaporate or are washed away by the rain, as occurs with conventional fertilizers, said Dall'Agnol. Sixty of the 68 researchers working at EMBRAPA's soybean research center are involved in developing new varieties and processes to boost production as well as domestic consumption. Their innovations have played a decisive role in making soybeans Brazil's leading farm export, eclipsing traditional crops like coffee and sugar. Brazil has 60 million hectares of savannah or cerrado that could be used for soybean production, while Argentina and the United States have few possibilities for expanding the area devoted to soybean cultivation, Dall'Agnol pointed out. According to the researcher, the expansion of soybean production would not affect the environment, as environmentalists fear, because it would not involve clear-cutting forest, but would instead take advantage of areas with scant vegetation.
In Brazil's Amazon jungle region, for example, areas that have already been deforested could be used. In addition, "direct planting," a technique that is more productive and prevents erosion, is now used by most soybean farmers in Brazil. Boosting production in Brazil now depends solely on expanding domestic consumption, which could be achieved by increasing the incomes of the poorest sectors of the population of 170 million, said Dall'Agnol. One of the avenues of research followed by EMBRAPA's soybean research center involves the development of varieties whose flavors are adapted to the specific tastes of Brazilians, many of whom spurn the nutritional, protein-rich crop because they find it unappetizing. Dall'Agnol announced that two new strains for human consumption, with different flavors, will hit the market next year.