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GM Soybean Field

The two face’s coin GMO policies

China is the world’s fourth-largest grower of GMO cotton and the top importer of soybeans. Genetically modified soybeans are mainly used for cooking oil and animal feed for pigs and chickens. But China government is facing public concern over food safety issues and scepticism about the effects of consuming GMO foods. Moreover, a 2012 trial of Golden Rice caused a public storm after reports that the rice was fed to children without the parents being aware that it was genetically modified.

China Pushes Public to Accept GMO after Syngenta acquisition

Syngenta AG, which produces genetically modified seeds for corn, is gearing up for rapid expansion in the country after the recent $43 billion acquisition of Swiss agribusiness Syngenta by China National Chemical Corp. China has said that it will allow commercial production of modified corn and soybeans by 2020.

On average, 12.7 million tonnes of soybeans are imported into the EU for crashing into soybean oil and meal yearly.  EU has a self-sufficiency ratio of 3% for its soybean and soymeal needs. Thus 18.5 million tonnes of soymeal (i.e. 23.4 million tonnes of soybean equivalent) are directly imported into the EU yearly. Netherland is the Member states that most imports Soybeans & soymeal (8.6M tonnes 2014), followed by Spain (5.6 M Tonnes)

16 EU Members stand against the introduction of new GMOs.

However, with the widespread antipathy toward GMOs in Europe, attempts to replace GM soy imports with conventional soy are increasing. However, this shift would lead to a shortage in the supply of this raw material in the short-term for the fodder manufacturing industry. This industry would have to seek for alternative sources of protein both in Europe and abroad. On the other hand, the attempt to replace GM soy imports with conventional soy would lead to a 291% and 301% increase in the prices of soybeans and soybean meal, respectively, in the short-term. By the end, GM soybean is considered as irreplaceable raw material in the EU. After the recent European Soy Declaration, industry organizations are calling the EU for coherence in the strategy for enhancing soy production.

In this scenario, many start-ups are offering alternatives with GMO-free protein (insects, algae, mosses). Interested to know more about these innovative initiatives, register on our platform.

More information

Genetically modified soy, an irreplaceable raw material in the EU:

Genetically modified commodities in the EU (Commission Staff Working Document. 2016):