US farmers mull growing GM wheat
London, June 24, 2010
US farmers are looking at growing genetically modified (GM) wheat as a way to improve profitability, Carl Hausmann, chief executive of agribusiness group Bunge North America, said on Wednesday.
US farmers are already growing and exporting genetically modified corn and soybeans, which are more widely accepted as they are often used as animal feed.
'I know that they are for the first time seriously considering GMO wheat as a way to improve profitability,' Hausmann told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of an agricultural conference in London.
'But there are issues of GM acceptance around the world in wheat..,' he added.
Hausmann said the farmers' organisation North American Wheat Growers was looking at GM wheat but it would take around five years before farmers are planting it on a commercial scale.
Hausmann also said there was no quick fix for US wheat exports, which are set to hit their lowest level in nearly 40 years due to the increased dominance of cheaper supplies from eastern Europe.
Over the past two years Russia has become a key exporter to the world's largest wheat importer Egypt, eating into the market share of traditional Egyptian suppliers including the United States and France.
'The economics of improved wheat production and exports out of the Black Sea area is a very strong reason why Egypt has moved to a cheaper, closer producer. I don't see that changing,' said Hausmann.
'In the short term we (the US) will not be recuperating our market share because the competitiveness of the Black Sea area and volume of exports of the Black Sea area has improved significantly.' – Reuters