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April 26, 2012


Australia closes GM, non-GM rapeseed price gaps to up Asian supply



In a bid to shore up supply for Asian markets, AWB is closing the price gap between genetically modified and non-GM canola.


In Victoria and NSW, GM rapeseed is trading at US$30-40 a tonne less than conventional rapeseed. But anti-GM groups say the AWB offer and price deals on GM seed are a sign of lack of interest from farmers and customers.


AWB's Roundup Ready rapeseed max spread contract offers GM growers a guaranteed price so the difference between GM and non-GM is no more than US$10 a tonne. Growers must sign up before June 29 this year, but can lock in a price later.


Cargill Australia corporate affairs director Peter McBride said the offer was partly to ensure an ongoing supply of GM rapeseed in the coming seasons to sell into the Asian markets.


"In that respect, yes, it is an incentive to grow the rapeseed to service those Asian markets," McBride said.


"Farmers have told us they will grow GM rapeseed if the price spread was less."


He said, based on Monday's prices, non-GM delivered to the Newcastle port was US$557 a tonne so GM would be US$547 a tonne.


McBride said the offer was only for the Grainflow site at Gilgandra, north of Dubbo, and the Newcastle port zone, but may be expanded over time to meet demand.


He said GM rapeseed attracted a discount because it was not accepted in Europe and Australian GM rapeseed was facing competition on the world market from Canadian GM rapeseed.


Monsanto licensee Canola Breeders WA is also offering a four-for-the-price-of-three deal on Roundup Ready Eclipse rapeseed in Western Australia.


Gene Ethics spokesman Bob Phelps said Monsanto was under such pressure to sell seed it was prepared to discount it and wear the cost. Monsanto spokeswoman Keryn McLean said Monsanto did not sell seed.

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