November 13, 2008

Irish poultry industry suffers due to delays of GM grain approval by EU


Slow pace of EU's approval of GM corn, soy and other protein crops are putting Irish poultry sector at risk as it is at the losing end by having to use more expensive non-GM feeds.


David Green of the American Soybean Association (ASA) said that GM soy is being approved in many countries in a good timeframe, so the EU will lose out if its system of approval remains so inefficient, as he thinks GM is really going to influence the future of feed.


The delay in introducing Herculex corn cost EUR40 million (US$49.86 million) for replacement feeds. As new GM soy was introduced, approval delays in the EU could cost up to EUR2 billion (US$2.5 billion) a year.


No GM crop had been approved by a qualified majority in the EU, he said. When that approval process failed, the next stage was that the EU Commission took it forward as happened with Herculex. The average time for approval in the US was 15-18 months as compared to three years or more in the EU.


The USA grew 27 million hectares of soy and in 1996, only 900,000 tonnes of that was GM, whereas the 2008-2009 harvest would be 95 percent GM.


Non GM soy is outside the commodity chain. Farmers in the US will grow it on request, but there is a cost. For example, organic non-GM soy grown for tofu for human consumption in Japan is three times more expensive than commodity GM soy, Mr. Green adds.


He said that Argentina was already producing almost all GM soy (99.5 percent), and Brazil, which only approved GM in 2003, had already converted 65 percent of its soy crop to GM. Both countries were developing their own GM crops adapted to local climates.

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