Seed World

Global Soybean Leaders Meet in Belgium to Address Biotech Acceptance in Europe

U.S. and South American soybean farmers are meeting with government officials, industry partners and other key influencers in Europe this week to discuss biotechnology acceptance and the implications of biotech approval delays. The farmers, who represent more than 95 percent of the world’s soybean exports and normally battle for global market share, are joining forces to advocate for a science-based and more predictable biotech approval process.
“Soybeans are part of a global market,” said Bob Haselwood, United Soybean Board (USB) chairman and soybean farmer from Berryton, Kansas. “We need a collaborative effort across the U.S., South America and the European Union to work toward timely approvals for new biotech traits. These traits will help us continue to supply a safe, reliable and abundant food supply for the world’s consumers.”
The delegation from the U.S. and South America is part of the International Soybean Growers Alliance (ISGA), which brings together farmers from these key soybean-producing countries to address global issues impacting all soybean farmers, including biotechnology acceptance.
A study released during an ISGA trade mission earlier this year showed that a three-year postponement in global approval of biotech-enhanced soybean traits any time in the next 10 years would cost farmers and consumers nearly $19 billion, compared with typical approval timelines.
The groups with the most to lose from delayed approvals include consumers in large importing countries, including China and nations in the European Union, and farmers in large soy-exporting countries that quickly adopt new technology, such as the U.S., Brazil and Argentina, according to the report.
“The global supply chain is a powerful economic engine that benefits not only farmers and consumers but also stakeholders at each stage in between,” said Ron Moore, American Soybean Association (ASA) secretary, U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) board member and soybean farmer from Roseville, Illinois. “The soybeans we grow create jobs in the U.S. and in each of our export markets. These economic benefits can’t be fully realized without a fully functioning biotech approval process.”