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BUSINESS & SEEDS: Pioneer’s oleic-rich GE soybean to boost South African production





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TITLE:   GENE-MODIFIED SOYBEAN SEED TO BOOST SA CROPS

SOURCE:  Business Day, South Africa

AUTHOR:  Hopewell Radebe

URL:     http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=149172

DATE:    26.07.2011

SUMMARY: "PIONEER Hi-Bred International, a US-based multinational seed producer, is gearing up to increase soybean production in SA with a new oleic-rich genetically modified seed, it was announced yesterday. [...] Pioneer?s soybean would bring a sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based products as it contains more than 75% oleic acid, believed to significantly increase the stability of the oil."

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GENE-MODIFIED SOYBEAN SEED TO BOOST SA CROPS

PIONEER Hi-Bred International, a US-based multinational seed producer, is gearing up to increase soybean production in SA with a new oleic-rich genetically modified seed, it was announced yesterday.

The South African Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy at the University of Pretoria has projected that SA?s demand for soybean meal will double to 1,8-million tons, of which 720000 tons will be produced locally. Production in SA could triple to about 1,62-million tons by 2020.

Pioneer?s soybean is expected to attract farmers wanting to take advantage of the availability of the downstream value chain market, which also accounts for the production of edible oil with improved performance and broader applications than other oil products in the sector.

Daniel Jacobi, vice-president for Pioneer?s Asia Pacific, China, Europe and Africa?s commercial business group ? who is on a fact-finding mission in SA ? said yesterday that globally, the trend was to produce nutritious commodities for the world?s 6-billion people. As a result, Pioneer?s soybean would bring a sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based products as it contains more than 75% oleic acid, believed to significantly increase the stability of the oil.

The Plenish brand high oleic soybean oil has zero grams of trans-fat and 20% less saturated fat than commodity soybean oil. It also has increased monounsaturated fat, similar to olive oil. These attributes could help to reduce supply chain costs for grain processors, food producers and ultimately consumers.

More than 90% of the soybean meal consumed in SA is imported, mainly from Argentina, as locally produced soybean meal is only about 100000 tons.

Sunflower meal is generally regarded as a low-value product that does not compare well to soybean meal in nutritional value.

Mr Jacobi said that Pioneer was collaborating with the Agricultural Research Council of SA and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, to increase maize yields under the severely nitrogen-limited conditions facing most African farmers.

Pioneer was also working with Africa Harvest, a biotech nongovenmental organisation, to develop Africa Biofortified Sorghum ? a more nutritious and easily digestible sorghum that contains increased levels of vitamin A, iron and zinc.