* South American country to OK new seeds before year end
* Paraguay world's No. 4 soy exporter, demand seen growing
ASUNCION Aug 20 Paraguay will approve
Monsanto's genetically modified Roundup Ready 2 soybean
seeds before the end of this year along with new corn technology
aimed at improving the country's competitiveness as a grains
exporter, a state official said.
Paraguay collected 4.3 million tonnes of soy in the 2011/12
season, during which yields were reduced by drought. The South
American country expects its soy output to jump to 8 million
tonnes in the 2012/13 season, thanks in part to the new seeds,
according to Agriculture Ministry trade chief Santiago Bertoni.
"Roundup Ready 2 is 90 percent there," in terms of being
approved for sowing in Paraguay, Bertoni said, predicting that
the official OK will be granted in time for farmers to use the
new technology when this year's planting starts in October.
"With this step we will improve the technology balance
between ourselves and other countries, improving our ability to
compete," he added. "The 2013 harvest will include fields
planted with these seeds."
As a soy exporter, Paraguay comes in a distant fourth after
powerhouse suppliers such as the United States, Brazil and
Argentina. With global food demand expected by the United
Nations to double by 2050, grains-producers are exploring
genetically modified technology in a bid to maximize profits.
Paraguay is also headed toward approving corn technology
from Monsanto and Dow Chemical, Bertoni said.
Some environmental groups have raised concerns about
genetically modified, or GMO, foods and have accused
agribusiness of pursuing profit without concern for possible
environmental and human health hazards.
But supplier nations are eager to use new technology to
maximize farm profits, and tax intake from the sector, as a way
of bolstering their finances against fallout from Europe's debt
crisis and global economic sluggishness.