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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Argentina Grants Regulatory Approval for Arcadia Biosciences-Bioceres Soybean Trait

The president of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, made an official, nationwide announcement at a specially broadcast event that Verdeca, the joint venture between Arcadia Biosciences Inc. and Bioceres SA has been granted final approval of its HB4 stress tolerant trait in soybeans from the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

Throughout six seasons of field trials conducted across the U.S. and Argentina, the HB4 trait has demonstrated yields that are 14% higher under multiple growth stresses including drought.

Cultivated on more than 270 million acres worldwide, soybeans are the world’s fourth largest crop with a global market value of $113 billion. Of this total, more than 45% of global output is grown in South America in Brazil and Argentina. As populations grow and middle classes expand across the world’s most populated emerging markets such as India and China, demand for soybeans is projected to steadily increase over the next decade.

“This approval is great news for farmers trying to meet the growing global demand for soybeans under challenging environmental conditions. HB4 soybeans will create significant value for soybean growers and end markets by increasing the productivity and sustainability of the world’s most important protein crop,” says Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia and a manager of Verdeca.

Now that the regulatory hurdles are met in Argentina, Verdeca will be targeting its efforts on gaining approval to exports its HB4 soybeans to China. China’s soybean purchases have climbed from 13 million tons in 2001 to more than 60 million tons in 2013, and are expected to increase by a further 20 million tons within the next decade, according to a 2013 report by Rabobank.

Aside from gaining regulatory approval in Argentina, Verdeca has completed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Early Food Safety Evaluation for the plant protein that is responsible for the HB4 trait.

“Our regulatory team has done an amazing job to accelerate HB4 soybeans toward commercialization through the generation of quality data and open communication with regulatory agencies,” said Eric Rey.

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