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2-Plants: China aims to be top global non-GMO soybean grower



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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  China aims to be top global non-GMO soybean grower
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   Feb 14, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


China aims to be top global non-GMO soybean grower

BEIJING - China aims to develop its northeast into the world's largest
producer of non-genetically modified soybeans over the next five years in
a move to compete with foreign beans, the Agriculture Ministry said
yesterday. High-yielding strains, with oil content two percentage points
higher than the 17-18 percent norm in China, would replace some imports,
the ministry said in a crop development plan for the next five years on
its Web site, www.agri.gov.cn. The varieties would be grown in 127
counties in the areas which cover northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang,
Jilin and Liaoning and in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, the plan
said. The plan "will build the northeast area into the world largest
producing area for non-genetically modified soybeans with high oil
content", it said. "The aim is that by 2007, output of high oil crops in
the northeast would be increased distinctly. Imports of high oil content
soybeans would be controlled at a rational level," the plan said. China's
consumption of soybeans was expected to reach 33 million tonnes in 2007,
of which high-yielding varieties would account for 25 million tonnes, the
ministry said. China's soybean consumption in 2002/2003 (October to
September) was likely to be 30.28 million tonnes, of which imports would
be 14 million tonnes, said the state-owned analyst group, the China
National Grain and Oil Information Centre. Domestic soybean output last
year was a record high of 16.5 million tonnes, the ministry has said.
China, one of the world's biggest soybean consumers and the top global
importer of the oilseed, has imported more than 10 million tonnes a year
in recent years to meet expanding capacities at crushers.



                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Non-GM seed demand strong in Brazil No.1 soy state
SOURCE: Reuters, by Peter Blackburn
        http://www.checkbiotech.org/root/index.cfm?fuseaction=newsletter&
        topic_id=5&subtopic_id=22&doc_id=4694
DATE:   Feb 12, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


Non-GM seed demand strong in Brazil No.1 soy state

CAMPO VERDE, Brazil (Reuters) - Soybean seed output is expected to rise
just over 50 percent to 240,000 40-kg bags in 2002/03 (Oct/Sept) at the
Agro-Sol seed farm in southern Mato Grosso, as demand for conventional
seed grows strongly in Brazil's No.1 soy state. In contrast to the
southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, where a large part of the crop is
illegally planted with transgenic seed smuggled in from neighboring
Argentina, the Mato Grosso crop still consists of conventional varieties,
agronomists said. Genetically modified Argentine soybeans are unsuitable
for the more tropical climate in Mato Grosso, but they are popular with
southern farmers because they require less herbicide protection and are
cheaper to produce than conventional beans. "Consumers want conventional
beans but won't pay extra for them even though they are more expensive to
grow. It's unfair for farmers," Agro Sol President Guidone Romeu
Dallastra said in an interview during a crop tour. Despite strong farmer
pressure to legalize transgenic crops, notably soybeans genetically
spliced to resist Monsanto Co.'s Roundup herbicide, the new leftist
government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is in no hurry to take
such a controversial step. Family-run Agro Sol, which describes itself as
a medium-sized seed producer, will harvest its 4,500 hectares (11,120
acres) of soybeans in March.


GREEN CARPET

The knee-to thigh-high crop is now flowering or pod-filling with no weeds
in sight - a carpet of various shades of green, depending on the variety
planted, stretching to the horizon. Blazing sunshine interrupted by
short, sharp afternoon summer showers provide excellent growing
conditions for the crop. Campo Verde, located at 730 meters (2,370 feet)
above sea level, enjoys a stable microclimate featuring around 2,000
millimeters (80 inches) of rain, mostly falling between October and
March, and an average temperature of around 25 Celsius (77 Fahrenheit).
Dallastra migrated to Mato Grosso from Rio Grande do Sul 20 years ago and
was one of the first to plant soybeans in the Campo Verde area, but seed
production only started in 2000. Since it was licensed by Monsanto and
the government's crop research agency Embrapa, Agro Sol's soy plantings
have risen rapidly and are planned to rise a further 44 percent next year
to 6,500 ha. Soy harvesting will not start until March because the seed
crop is planted later than commodity soybeans. That way, it can be
harvested when the weather is drier. Agro Sol has just completed a $1.7
million extension of its seed processing plant and construction of
warehouses to store 450,000 40-kg bags of seed. The electronically
controlled plant uses gas driers to reduce the seed moisture content to
11 percent from about 16 percent. "Environmentally it's better than
burning wood and it's also more efficient," Dallastra said, adding that
the temperature is controlled within a plus or minus 2 degrees Celsius
(35.6 F) which ensures that the seeds are uniformly dried without any
genetic damage. The seeds are then automatically sorted by size, shape
and weight.