World Grain - November 2020 - 10

NEWSREVIEW

Argentina first to approve GMO wheat variety
AHRENSBURG, GERMANY - With approval of Bioceres
Crop Solutions Corp.'s HB4 Wheat for growth and production, Argentina becomes the first nation to approve a genetically modified wheat strain.
Bioceres said on Oct. 8 that Argentina's Ministry of
Agriculture has granted approval of HB4 Wheat. Argentina is
Latin America's largest wheat producer and the world's first
country to adopt HB4 drought tolerance technology for this
staple crop.
"Approval of our HB4 Wheat in Argentina represents a
groundbreaking milestone for the entire global value chain of
this important crop, given the substantial yield increases and
significant environmental benefits that our technology offers,"
said Federico Trucco, chief executive officer of Bioceres.
The country's regulatory clearance follows approval of HB4
Soybean, which has been approved in other major production
geographies, including the United States and Brazil, which,
together with Argentina, represent nearly 80% of the world's
total soybean acreage. Commercialization of HB4 Wheat in
Argentina is contingent upon import approval in Brazil, which
purchases just over 85% of its wheat from Argentina. Currently,
regulatory processes for HB4 Wheat also continue advancing
in the United States, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. Bioceres
intends to initiate regulatory processes in Australia and Russia
as well as certain countries in Asia and Africa.
Trucco told Reuters that the company is expecting approval
from Brazil in early 2021.
Drought-tolerant HB4 Wheat is a patented seed technology

developed by Trigall Genetics, Bioceres' joint venture with
Florimond Desprez, a global leader in wheat genetics. In field
trials conducted during the last 10 years, HB4 seed varieties
increased wheat yields by 20%, on average, during growing
seasons impacted by droughts.
The incidence of drought has been increasing in frequency,
as climate change worsens across the world, affecting the stability of agricultural ecosystems, Bioceres said. In addition to
mitigating production losses during drought conditions, HB4
facilitates double cropping, which seasonally rotates soy and
wheat, an environmentally friendly farming system that is otherwise limited by water availability. When combined with soil
regenerative practices, such as no-till farming, a share cropping system made possible by HB4 seeds captures more carbon than conventional growing practices, the company said.
For each acre farmed per year, the resulting sequestration is
equivalent to two months of carbon emitted by an automobile.
Substantially higher crop yields through HB4 also reduce the
need to expand agriculture's global footprint, Bioceres said.
Sixteen years ago, the company began collaborating with
Raquel Chan, PhD, of CONICET and other scientists who discovered the sunflower gene that is the backbone of the HB4
technology.
"Substantial time, resources and effort have been behind
today's announcement, which would not have been possible
without the trust of our fellow shareholders, the unwavering support of our partners, and the strong conviction of the
broader team engaged throughout the process," Trucco said.

Brazil millers oppose sale of GM wheat
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL - The Brazilian wheat millers association, Abitrigo, released a statement on Oct. 14 opposing
the approval of genetically modified wheat products for sale
in Brazil.
Abitrigo said the approval of GM wheat for sale would
make imports more costly and impact prices on the domestic market.
The statement was in response to the recent news that
Argentina, Brazil's largest wheat supplier, had approved new
genetically modified wheat that can resist drought and tolerates the herbicide glufosinate sodium.
Argentina accounts for about 60% of Brazil's annual wheat
imports, according to Abitrigo.

Abitrigo noted that for 30 years the genetic modification
of wheat has been the subject of analysis by the international
scientific community.
"These analyses have determined, until now, the non-approval of the use of GM wheat because no evident benefits
to people have been identified, being the exclusive object of
seeking to increase the productivity of the field," Abitrigo said.
The association added, "We have not identified any movement in demand from Brazilian consumers for transgenic solutions."
Brazil typically imports more wheat than it produces. In
2020-21, the USDA projects Brazilian wheat production at
6.6 million tonnes, with imports pegged at 6.7 million tonnes.

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World Grain - November 2020

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