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Monsanto forges ahead with plans for genetically modified wheat

(April 26, 2002 – CropChoice news) – Monsanto announced that it will begin this year the process of gaining regulatory approval for its genetically modified wheat in the United States, Canada and Japan. The biotechnology giant hopes to bring this Roundup Ready wheat, designed to resist the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), to market in the United States and Canada between 2003 and 2005, although it may have to push beyond that date.

Canadian wheat farmers are concerned that the federal government, in line with its crop-variety-approval MO, will ignore repeated warnings from two thirds of Canada’s export customers that they do not want and will not accept genetically modified wheat.

Monsanto supposedly is working with the U.S. and Canadian grain industry, whose processing and transportation infrastructure is geared to handle bulk, homogeneous grain varieties, to find ways of segregating transgenic wheat. Those efforts include attempting to persuade the major consumers of Canadian and U.S. wheat – Japan, Korea, the Middle East and the European Union – to accept tolerance levels for the variety.

Farmers have also expressed concerns about the agronomic implications of Roundup-resistant wheat. Canada already is home to Roundup Ready canola. It has spread rapidly into areas where it’s unwanted. Some contend that it has made growing conventional and organic canola impossible, and that it has become something of a nuisance weed for farmers who don’t even grow canola.

One farmer told the Western Producer that the existence of both Roundup Ready canola and wheat in western Canada might force farmers to look beyond Roundup for other herbicides to control volunteers of the transgenic varieties when they’re trying to grow other crops.

Source: Western Producer

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