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Brazil’s Mato Grosso Pushing for Non-GMO Soy Production

Growing demand from Asian and EU markets is driving the emergence of a movement in Brazil’s Mato Grosso for the increased production of non-GMO soybeans.

Brazil’s willingness to adopt genetically modified soy led to 96 percent of its crop accounting for GM varieties and the country becoming a leading global supplier. Supporters of GM technology also note that the adoption of GM crop varieties has led to lower production costs for farmers due to easier management of pests and weeds, and lower food costs for consumers.

However, Wininton Mendes is coordinating a program with the goal of promoting the use of conventional seeds by farmers in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso and the government agricultural agency, Embrapa. The program has found backing by three traders - Amaggi SA, Imcopa International SA, and Caranuru Alimentos SA. who see the reintroduction of non-GMO soybean production as promoting a niche market that will pay a premium of 12 reais per 60 kilogram bag of non-GMO soy.

The premium is drawing attention from some of Brazil’s farmers, with 13.6 percent of the 2016/17 soybean harvest being non-GMO, however, the availability of seeds is posing a challenge to increasing acreage.

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