Anger at lack of progress on GM
What seems to be going on here - both from the GM lobby and the grain traders - is desperate scare-mongering (All livestock in EU will have to be culled/Britain will starve, etc.), in order to enable pro-GM politicians to ram through liberalisation measures on GM.
COMMENT from GM-free Ireland: The Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association (NIGTA) has 33 members. These include the obvious feed importers such as Beck & Scott Ltd, Cefetra Ltd, James Holland & Co Ltd, R&H Hall Ltd, and W&R Barnett Ltd.
NIGTA's members also include a some of the world's biggest transnational companies directly involved in agricultural biotechnology such as DSM Nutritional Products AG (which "strongly supports the conclusions of a new OECD report, which says that biotech in agriculture and industry should be supported by 'substantially greater' investments to solve global challenges"), Alltech, Yara International ASA and Twow Nutrition International. Moreover, all full members of NIGTA also belong to lobby groups (including AIC - Agricultural Industries Confederation, GAFTA - the Grain and Feed Trade Association, NABIM - National Association of British and Irish Millers, and FOFSA International - Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Association), most of which campaign vigorously against the EU's precautionary policies on GMOs.
Some NIGTA members have financial and organizational ties to transnational agri-biotech companies and commodity traders such as Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) that have been prosecuted for anti-trust violations by the FBI, the U.S. Department of State, and the European Commission. Most of these groups want to force GM crops, animal feed and food into the EU market, against the wishes of the majority of farmers, consumers, retailers and member states.
In 1996, the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division prosecuted ADM (the world's third largest commodity trader) and others for participating in an international cartel organized to suppress competition for lysine, an important livestock and poultry feed additive. The cartel had inflated the price of this important agricultural input by tens of millions of dollars during the course of the conspiracy. ADM pled guilty and was fined $100 million -- at the time the largest criminal antitrust fine in history. Two Japanese and two Korean firms also were prosecuted for their participation in the worldwide lysine cartel and were assessed multi-million dollar fines. In addition, three former ADM executives were convicted for their personal roles in the cartel; two of them were sentenced to serve 36 and 33 months in prison, respectively, and fined $350,000 apiece for their involvement, and the other executive had 20 months added to a prison sentence he was already serving for another
offense. Source: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/speeches/200417.htm
According to the European Commission competition website (http://europa.eu/pol/comp/index_en.htm#curia):
"On 9 July 2009 the European Court of First Instance fined Archer Daniels Midland â‚¬29.4 million for operating a cartel and participating in anti-competitive activities in relation to citric acid, following criminal investigations by the FBI, and related lawsuits filed against ADM by the U.S. Department of Justice and Commission of the European Communities (http://curia.europa.eu/jurisp/cgi-bin/form.pl?lang=en&Submit=Rechercher&docrequire=alldocs&numaff=&datefs=&datefe=&nomusuel=&domaine=CONC&mots=&resmax=100) .
"A related FBI Report contains the detailed description given by a former ADM representative of the cartel arrangements and, in particular, of the information on the meetings between the undertakings in question. That report mentions, inter alia, that meetings attended by representatives of each undertaking participating in the cartel were organised, including 'Masters' meetings attended by the highest level of those representatives, and concerned the direction and arrangements of the cartel, whereas 'Sherpa' meetings were attended by representatives responsible for the practical implementation of those arrangements. Also according to that report, it appeared to the individual questioned that another former ADM representative, called the 'The Wise Old Man', who participated in both types of those meetings, had had the idea of the cartel arrangement known as the 'G-4/5 arrangement' and had had a fairly active role in the implementation of that arrangement."
Anger at lack of progress on GM
Farming Life [UK], 19 October 2009:
*Grain chief says issue puts livestock sector at risk
NORTHERN Ireland Grain Trade Association (NIGTA) President Garth Boyd has expressed outrage at the European Commission's decision not to include the issue of zero tolerance levels for non approved Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) at the upcoming meeting of EU farm ministers.
"There is no excuse for this," he told Farming Life.
"Yet again it puts the future prospects of the intensive livestock sector here in Northern Ireland at great risk. NIGTA has been working closely with its sister organisations throughout the UK and Ireland on this matter for a considerable period of time. Local feed companies are already paying over the odds for their protein supplies. However, given the current state of global protein markets, this problem may well be exacerbated further. No local miller will take the risk of importing soya from North America until the zero tolerance issue has been resolved at Ministerial level within the EU in a sensible manner."
He added: "Dr. Jose Manuel Barroso has been re-elected as President of the European Commission. In addition, the recent referendum in the Republic of Ireland has, hopefully, paved the way for the full ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Given these two developments I was hopeful that the GMO tolerance issue would now be actively addressed by Brussels, hence my deep disappointment on hearing that the issue will not be discussed at the next Farm Council meeting."
Structurally, the EU is dependent on the global market for its protein supply and none of the EU member states is self sufficient in proteins. The EU has to source its imports of soybeans and soybean meals in those countries that produce predominantly GM soybeans (and other GM crops like maize) i.e. the USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and other South American countries. This dependency on the global market exposes the EU feed and food chain to trade disruption and possible shortages.
This is particularly the case in 2009 as, unlike in previous years, supplies of soybeans from South America will not be available for EU operators due to a considerable production shortage (19 million tonnes less) because of a drought earlier this year. There is no significant alternative supply of soybeans as a source of protein on the global market available. Therefore, between mid September 2009 and the next South American harvest starting in March 2010, the EU industry will have to import about 6 to 7.5 million tonnes of soy beans from North America to cover the needs of the food and feed markets. However, these imports can only take place if a solution is found to avoid the minute (less than 0.1%) presence of a GM event not yet authorized in Europe blocks consignments.
But GM is not the only issue that has been addressed by the Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association over recent months.
"The Dioxin scare earlier this year highlighted the fact the Province's feed and food assurance standards actually work, with full traceability a key component of these provisions," he further explained.
"However, we have not rested on laurels where this matter is concerned. There is always room for improvement and with this objective in mind we have been working closely with colleagues in the Republic of Ireland and Belgium in order to draw up more comprehensive agreements that will give the feed and food industries even greater levels of re-assurance."
On the issue of future feed prices Garth Boyd indicated that a number of factors will come into play over the coming months.
"If the GM issue is not resolved quickly, it will put a big question mark over the future price and availability of soya," he stressed.
"The downside of a weak sterling is that it makes imported grain and other feed inputs significantly more expensive."
Garth Boyd concluded: "We have seen raw material prices rising over the past few weeks by between GBP12 and GBP14 per tonne. However, at farm levels it should be a case of steady as you go for the next couple of months. I am not in a position to predict how markets will fare beyond this point."
"The big US agricultural commodity traders Cargill, ADM and Bunge have major biotech seed research projects of their own. They have deep alliances with Monsanto and Syngenta. They want US GM soya to be accepted uncritically in Europe and they would prefer every soya bean on the planet to be equal to every other soya bean because that's what profitable commodity trading is about." - John Fagan of Cert-ID, the leading US certifier of non-GM soya for import from Brazil to Europe