GENET archive


BUSINESS: U.S. GE rice contamination favors GE-free rice trade

                                 PART I
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TITLE:  Genetically modified rice sales facing resistance
SOURCE: Business Standard, India
AUTHOR: Dilip Kumar Jha
DATE:   11.05.2007

Genetically modified rice sales facing resistance

Continued resistance over sales of genetically modified (GM) rice in the
US and its non-acceptance in the European Union (EU) have threatened the
success of the transgenic hybrid seeds in the agriculture sector,
according to a Rabobank report published on Thursday.

India, the world's second largest rice producer after China with a
capacity of 91 million tonnes (MT) is also facing resistance over the
use of GM seeds. The US rice sector has a 12 per cent share in
international trade, with about 1.5 per cent of share in world
production. The US sector is threatened by many challenges such as high
fuel and fertiliser costs, limited increases in farm prices and
intensifying international competition, particularly from low-cost Asian

This has also impacted the overall rice acreage in 2006-07 as it fell 16
per cent to 2.8 million acres, the lowest level since 1996-97.

In 2006-07 marketing year (MY), US rice production is estimated to fall
by 13 per cent to 194 million hundredweight (cwt, 1 ton = 20 cwt) , with
long-grain production down about 18 per cent to 146 million cwt, and
medium- and short-grain production up by 4 per cent to 48 million cwt.
These levels are similar to 2003-04 levels, when a smaller crop lifted
prices, subsequently pushing production to record levels. According to
the report, rice acreage in the US in 2007-08 is likely to decline even
further due to concerns over the effects of GM contamination, high
prices for alternative crops and the banning of a number of GM
contaminated rice.

This may tempt farmers to grow alternative crops wherever possible.
Burdened with strict regulations, the EU has banned imports of US rice.
Until the discovery of the GM variety LL 601, the EU had purchased about
250,000 tonnes (milled-equivalent basis) of rice annually from the US.
While sales of milled rice to other markets may increase, these sales
will not cover the gap left by the loss of a major share of the EU
market, the report said. The Supreme Court of India recently passed an
order allowing the Centre to conduct trial runs of genetically modified
seeds with certain restrictions.

According to an expert, about 50 per cent of children below five years
of age and their mothers are malnourished in India. So the promotion of
GM seeds would fit the bill in India, he said.

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                                 PART II
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TITLE:  Rice exports could hit 8.8 mln tonnes
SOURCE: Bangkok Post, Tjailand
AUTHOR: dpa, Germany
DATE:   14.05.2007

Rice exports could hit 8.8 mln tonnes

(dpa) - Natural calamities elsewhere in Asia and a GMO scandal rice in
the US and Australia could push Thailand's rice exports up to 8.8
million tons this year, up from 7.4 million tons in 2006, industry
sources said Saturday.

Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines are not expected to reach their
rice production targets this year because of natural disasters, said
Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Rice Exporters Association.

Meanwhile rice production in the US and Australia is decreasing this
year due to reports of discovereries of GMO-strains of the grain there,
resulting in import bans in some markets such as Europe.

That's all good news for Thailand, the world's largest rice exporter,
that is expected to ship between 8.5. to 8.8 tons this year, Chookiat
told a seminar on the world outlook for the rice trade.

While China is now the biggest importer of Thai rice, Chookiat expects
Indonesia to become a major market in 2007 because of declining
production in the archipelago nation.

The world's top five rice exporters are Thailand, Vietnem, India, US,
and Pakistan, in that order.

Vietnam's rice exports during the first four months of 2007 reached 1.3
million tons, worth 400 million dollars, a 18.8 per cent decrease in
volume and 7.0 per cent decrease in value, said Huynh Minh Hue, Deputy
Secretary General of Vietnam Food Association.

Hue blamed the declines on limited supply, delays in the winter- spring
crop harvest and difficulty in contracting vessels.

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