India Moves to Supply GE-Free Soybeans to the EU

India Moves to Supply GE-Free Soybeans to the EU
Indian growers target Europe with non-GM soybeans
Reuters 21 may 01

LONDON - Indian soymeal producers hope to capitalise on European
concerns over genetically modified crops after food scares such as mad
cow disease have shaken consumer confidence, an Indian delegation said
on Monday.

The delegation, sponsored by the Soybean Processors Association of India
(SOPA), has met trade officials in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, the
Netherlands and Britain to persuade buyers that their soybean meal is
non-GM unlike other producers.

"There is no fear about us having a GM presence in our crops," Davish Jain,
delegation leader and group managing director of the Prestige Group, told a
meeting of UK industry officials.

"Nothing like genetically modified organisms exist in our country. We do not
import GM soybeans, and India is encouraging domestic production of non-GM."

Europe has become increasingly concerned over genetically-modified food,
with sensitivities heightened by outbreaks of (BSE) bovine spongiform
encephalopathy, more commonly known as mad cow disease, and foot-and-
mouth disease.

Many governments have begun to tighten controls over imports, with buyers
demanding certificates from producers to say the consignment is non-GM and
traceability for the crops to ensure there has been no contamination from GM

"We are likely to stay with non-GM crops in the next few years...if we
assure the proper returns for farmers," Jain said.

Jain said some South American countries like Argentina may say they can
provide non-GM soymeal while also growing genetically modified crops.

Soybean meal has become increasingly important in Europe after BSE spread
across the continent, leading to a ban on meat-based animal feed -- believed
by many scientists to be the cause of the spread of the disease.

Many consumers have said they would prefer animals to be fed with non-GM

"Soybean meal is a vital ingredient for livestock and poultry feeds and
carries no risk on grounds of health hazard," Jain said, adding that India
was free of foot-and-mouth that wreaked havoc for agriculture businesses
in Britain since the highly infectious livestock disease hit in late February.

"Having successfully carved a niche of its non-GM soy products in South
East Asian countries, India is ready and keen to introduce these products
in the European markets."

India mainly supplies Asia with soymeal, but exported 56,000 tonnes to
France and 6,000 tonnes in 2000. Exports range between 2.5-3 million
tonnes a year, Jain said.

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