A Philippine Supreme Court ruling banning future GMO imports has rattled global markets and alarmed local feed millers, news agency Reuters reported on Thursday.
Traders reportedly blamed the court ruling on the latest fall of front-month soymeal on the Chicago Board of Trade, which hit a five-year low of $267.20 per tonne on Thursday.
Importers said the Philippines sources 2-2.2 million tonnes of its annual soymeal meal needs from abroad.
Ric Pinca, former vice president of the Philippine Association of Feed Millers Inc., told Reuters that the Philippines would experience a food crisis if the high court ruling is implemented. "You would not have pork, chicken, and fish available in the market", he was quoted as saying.
An importer said that if GM soymeal imports are banned, the Philippines would have to buy non-GM supply that is priced higher by US$80-$100 per tonne.
Meanwhile, the head of the Philippine Department of Agriculture, Proceso Alcala, said they would appeal the court ruling after his agency receives a copy of the decision. "What the Supreme Court is saying, I was informed, is to come up with new rules," Alcala told Reuters.
The ruling temporarily halts future applications for field testing, propagation and commercialisation, and importation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) until new rules are promulgated.
If the Supreme Court grants the government's request, there should be no ban while the new rules are being drafted, Alcala said.