CHICAGO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - U.S. farmers should closely consider the markets they serve when choosing to plant a new genetically modified Syngenta AG corn variety as it is not approved by all major importers, including China, the U.S. Grains Council said on Thursday.
Grain exporters also need to be keenly aware of the varieties they handle to prevent further disruptions to international trade, said USGC, which helps develop foreign markets for grain.
Syngenta’s Agrisure Duracade corn is available for planting in the United States for the first time this year but China and the European Union have not yet approved it for import, raising concerns about potential trade disruptions.
China rejected at least 600,000 tonnes of U.S. corn this season because the shipments contained a Syngenta GMO strain known as Agrisure Viptera, which Beijing has also not approved for import.
“It is important for all sectors of the value chain - individual farmers, technology providers, shippers and exporters alike - to recognize the potentially significant international implications of their actions,” said USGC president and CEO Tom Sleight.
“The Council therefore urges producers who choose to plant Agrisure Duracade in 2014 to adhere carefully to their stewardship responsibilities in order to minimize the risk to U.S. export sales.”
Large grain companies, including Archer Daniels Midland , Bunge, Cargill and Consolidated Grain and Barge, have said they will not accept Duracade corn until it is approved by all major importers.
Gavilon Grain inked a deal with Syngenta to provide grain marketing opportunities for farmers planting Duracade, but offered few details about how it will handle it.
Unless it is carefully segregated from other varieties, Duracade could easily mix into the high-volume U.S. supply chain. That raises the risk for trade disruptions because some countries have zero-tolerance policies on GMOs that they have not approved.
USGC called on importers to relax zero-tolerance policies and work toward a speedier, more coordinated approval system for the latest GMO traits.
“Our charge is to protect the export market and we take that very seriously. But we also feel strongly about having access to that technology and not holding up access to that technology where we don’t have functioning approval systems,” Sleight said.