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  • Condensed by Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Unconventional Ag Media

Brazil Approves GM Wheat Over Food Supply Concerns

Fears concerning global food supplies together with domestic dry weather patterns have led Brazil to approve the cultivation and sale of drought-tolerant, genetically modified wheat.

Once taboo, Brazi’s approval of Bioceres’ HB4 strain of wheat makes it the second country following Argentina to approve the crop for cultivation; other countries have already approved it for consumption.

Although GM varieties of soy and corn have been approved and in use for animal feed, biofuels, and certain ingredients such as cooking oil, GM wheat has been never been cultivated for the human food market, due to fears about allergens and toxicities in a crop that is used worldwide for scores of staple foods.

Brazil usually plants about 3 million hectares (741,316 acres) of wheat, mostly in Rio Grande do Sol and Parana, and Bioceres stated that its GM variety shows an average 43 percent increase in yields across all targeted environments.

While it’s been noted that the approval by Brazil’s biosecurity agency CTNbio does not necessarily mean that the country’s farmers will be growing the variety soon, it does signal a shift in attitudes and a significant boost for the technology, as the war in Ukraine and climate change are presenting dual threats to global food security.

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