June 24, 2010


US considers growing GM wheat to up profit


US farmers are looking at growing genetically modified (GM) wheat as a way to improve profitability, Carl Hausmann, chief executive of agribusiness group Bunge North America, said on Wednesday (Jun 23).


Farmers are already growing and exporting genetically modified corn and soy, which are more widely accepted as they are often used as animal feed.


"But there are issues of GM acceptance around the world in wheat," he said, adding that there was no quick fix for US wheat exports, which are set to hit their lowest level in nearly 40 years due to the increased dominance of cheaper supplies from eastern Europe.


Over the past two years Russia has become a key exporter to the world's largest wheat importer Egypt, eating into the market share of traditional Egyptian suppliers including the US and France.


"The economics of improved wheat production and exports out of the Black Sea area is a very strong reason why Egypt has moved to a cheaper, closer producer. I don't see that changing," said Hausmann.


The US will not be recuperating its market share in the short term because the competitiveness of the Black Sea area and volume of exports of the Black Sea area has improved significantly, he added.