December 22, 2009 / 8:44 PM / 8 years ago

Argentina approves new Syngenta GMO corn strain

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Argentina has approved a new variety of genetically modified corn developed by Switzerland’s Syngenta SYNN.VX to be resistant to insects and herbicides, the Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday.

The government said approval of the Bt11xGA21 strain would help boost competition in the seed market in Argentina, which was the world’s third-biggest corn exporter this year, behind Brazil and the United States.

“This strain will allow ... greater diversity in the competition for seed sales of this type,” said Lorenzo Basso, government secretary for agriculture, ranching and fishing.

Argentina growers are expected to dedicate 3.16 million hectares to corn this season, down from 3.49 million in the previous crop year due to drought that prevented planting, according to government estimates.

Corn production is seen at 14 million tonnes this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Syngenta accounts for about a fifth of Argentine corn seed sales, a company executive said. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Walter Bagley)

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