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Europe wants Brazil’s non-transgenic soybeans for livestock feed

(June 4, 2001 – CropChoice news) -- A 20 percent increase in soybean exports helped power Brazil to a trade surplus in May. Part of that buying comes from the European Union, where demand for certified non-transgenic soybean meal accounts for between 20 and 25 percent of the EU market. However, with a glut of Brazilian beans, all of which are conventional because of a ban on transgenic crop cultivation, U.S. farmers shouldn’t expect large premiums for growing conventional varieties.

As has been the case for a number of years, even before the onset of genetically modified foods, Europe turns to Brazil for 44 percent of its soybean meal, says William George of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. The United States and Argentina provide about 50 percent, much of which is transgenic.

Premiums for certified non-transgenic soybean meal have hovered between $1.50 and $4 per ton, insufficient to cover more than the cost of testing the meal for transgenic proteins.

"However, continued growth in demand for non-biotech soybeans could eventually have a negative impact on U.S. soybean sales to the EU," George wrote in AgJournal. "Already we are beginning to see interest by some exporters to meet this growing demand. As an example, India, which does not allow planting of biotech soybeans, has recently sent a delegation to the EU in order to promote its non-biotech soybean meal."