August 19, 2008

 

Japan's tofu sector still insists on non-GM soy
   

 

High prices of non-GM soy will not cause Japan's tofu industry to choose GM soy over non-GM ones as that is what the consumer demands, an industry official said on Monday (August 19, 2008).

 

This is despite record CBOT soy prices that have left some in the sector financially struggling, said Yutaka Murakami, the chairman of the Japan Tofu Association told Reuters.

 

Non-GM soy prices are expected to rise as more US farmers switch to GM crops. Japan gets most of its supply from the US. This season, GM varieties will make up 92 percent of US soy, up from 85 percent four years ago.

 

Japan's US$5.5 billion tofu industry uses about 380,000 tonnes of imported soy a year, almost half of the country's total demand for soy for food use of 1 million tonnes a year.

 

Japan's Tofu Association consists of a group of 28 medium-to-large tofu makers that control about one-third of the industry in Japan

 

Non-GM tofu must have no more than 5 percent of their soy coming from Gm sources.

 

As US supplies begin to shrink, tofu makers were seeking non-GM soy from sources such as Canada, China and Brazil and cutting down on US soy.

 

In Tokyo's commodities exchange, non-GM soy futures for June 2009 delivery was 18 percent higher than the equivalent GM soy contract.

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