Brazil launches GM-free soya program
2. Comment by TraceConsult
3. Embrapa launches program to support non-GM soy
1. Brazil launches GM-free soya program
Blogpost by Iran Magno, campaigner Greenpeace Brazil - November 17, 2010
[slightly edited by GMWatch]
Great news for soya farmers in Brazil! These producers, who have been complaining of the limited availability of conventional seeds in the Brazilian market, are now counting on government help to solve the problem through the recently launched Soja Livre (Free Soya), a programme result of a partnership between Embrapa (the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, led by the State), APROSOJA (Association of Soya Producers of Mato Grosso State) and ABRANGE (Brazilian Association of Non Genetically Modified Grain Producers).
Using the wide scientific expertise and technological resources from Embrapa, non-GE soya crops have been developed and are undergoing the testing phase, held in 13 cities of Mato Grosso state. It is expected that these crops are going to be available for the farmers already in the 2011/2012 harvesting season. ...
In the launch event, representatives of the farmers associations stressed the importance of Brazil in the international arena as one of the remaining sources of conventional soya and commented on the importance of the country as an exporter to international markets where there is strong demand for non-GE products, such as Europe. In the Brazilian soya sector, there is an expectation that the country will achieve the position of largest world producer of soybeans in the next seven years.
While on one hand the producers have their right to choose assured, on the other, the consumer's rights are being put at risk. Established by the Brazilian Biosafety Law, from 2005, the mandatory labeling of GM products suffers recurrent attacks in the National Congress. A pending bill, authored by Congressman Luis Carlos Heinze, seeks to ban mandatory labeling for products containing more than 1% GM ingredients. In addition to this, another bill developed by the House Majority Leader, Candido Vacarezza, advocates for the same proposition allied to the authorization of the cultivation of plants with terminator technology, whose seeds are sterile. ... consumers are likely to be blindfolded and deprived of choice.
The Soja Livre initiatives are in accord with commitments made by the Brazilian government in 2006, during the 8th Conference of the Parties that took place in Brazil. At the time, President Lula declared that the coexistence of non-GE and GE crops would be assured on Brazilian land. This step is a legacy of his administration for the Brazilian agriculture. However, as the next step and as a message for the government to come, it is essential that society also have their rights guaranteed.
2. Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation Embrapa launches program to support non-GM soy: Comment by TraceConsult
For a good number of years now, the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso has been the largest soy producing state. Made up mostly of rather large farms that operate independently, quite the contrary to runner-up state Parana, which is made up of smaller farmers that mostly belong to cooperatives, Mato Grosso is affected particularly by illegal distribution practices as reported by us in May 2010.
Brazilian media reported at the time that long established seed distributors who had been acquired by biotech corporations like Monsanto literally forced farmers into buying 85 percent of their soy seed in GM varieties.
This new program launched by the agricultural research and breeding organization operated by the Brazilian Federal Government, Embrapa http://www.embrapa.gov.br/, is taking things into Brazilian hands again by developing varieties for different soil and climatic conditions allowing again for the planting of a higher percentage of conventional, GM-free soybeans.
It is important for European buyers to understand that the increase of GM soy volumes in the Brazilian soy crop results to a large extent from dubious distribution practices like the ones reported on months ago. As an ABRANGE spokesman indicates, Mato Grosso farmers aim at reaching again a 70 percent level of conventional, non-GM varieties. He clarifies that this will depend also on the demand from European and Asian buyers, a fact TraceConsult has emphasized for years.
It is about time European retailers and food producers fully understand this message and convert it into clear and robust instructions fed upstream into their soy meal supply chains.
2010 Copyright by TraceConsult
3. Embrapa launches program to support non-GM soy
By Peter Murphy
Posted on 09/11/2010 at 20:39
Reuters / Brazil Online
BRASILIA (Reuters)--On Tuesday, [Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation] Embrapa <http://www.embrapa.gov.br/> launched a program to increase the production of non-GM soybean seeds, as genetically modified varieties marketed by biotech corporations are taking conventional versions off the market.
The program's focus is the production of Mato Grosso, the main [soy] producing state. Soy farmers complain about the difficulty of obtaining non-GM seeds in sufficient quantity to supply the market, which pays a premium for a product that is not modified.
"There's a war market in Mato Grosso, where (biotechnology companies) are almost pulling out its conventional seeds, so we are getting into it now," said Alexander Cattelan, director of the soybean sector of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), a public institution linked to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Brazil is the second largest producer globally of soybeans. The harvest was 68 million tons this year, about 65 percent of which was GM soy produced mainly from seeds that incorporate technologies developed by Monsanto, a leader in this market in Brazil, Bayer CropScience and BASF.
Companies receive royalties for the use of such technology, and farmers fear that the scarcity of non-GMO seeds leave them at the mercy of those companies.
"In a few years we will simply be totally in the hands of multinational companies who are currently working with biotechnology," said former Governor Maggi of Mato Grosso, a major producer of soybeans.
He admitted that the GM soybean plays a "significant" role but said that the natural varieties should not be abandoned, as they are worth more.
Embrapa, which launched the program at its headquarters in Brasilia, will develop various kinds of conventional seeds, adapted to different growing conditions, and expand its own production facilities through partner companies.
The program has the support of the Brazilian Association of Non-GMO Grain Producers (ABRANGE) and the Association of Soy Producers of Mato Grosso (Aprosoja).
The technical director of ABRANGE, Ivan Paghi, said it would be possible to reverse the current trend and in the future grow 70 percent of in Mato Grosso soybeans as non-GM, depending on demand from Europe and Asia.
In the last season, Mato Grosso contributed 18.8 million out of the total of 68.7 million tons produced in Brazil. Farmers have less to gain from the use of GM varieties that are resistant to herbicides such as glyphosate because their crops are less prone to weeds.
Portuguese original of this article: