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May 24, 2017

New Organization to Promote Conventional Soy Production in Brazil

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

While the vast majority of soybeans grown in Brazil are GMO varieties (estimated at 96%), there are farmers in Mato Grosso who continue to grow conventional soybeans (non-GMO). It is estimated that 13-15% of the soybeans produced in the state are conventional soybeans and participants in the industry are in the process of establishing an organization dedicated to the promotion of conventional soybean production.

The Soybean and Corn Producers Association of Mato Grosso (Aprosoja) in association with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Service, Embrapa, are joining forces with seed producers and grain companies to ensure that farmers have the option of what type of soybeans they grow. There is a niche market for conventional soybeans in Asia and Europe which could expand to other countries such as India. With a steady market for conventional soybeans, Brazilian farmers want to be on the forefront of supplying that market.

In order to ensure the continued production of conventional soybeans, buyers paid a premium of R$ 12 per sack (approximately $1.75 per bushel) this past growing season in Brazil. The premiums help pay for the added expenses of keeping the conventional soybeans segregated from GMO soybeans during harvest, storage, and transportation.

Proponents of the new organization have asked the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) to conduct a study concerning the added cost of producing conventional soybeans and to estimate the total production in the state. The goal of the study is to aid farmers when they are deciding which type of soybeans to grow.

One of the obstacles to conventional soybean production is finding a reliable seed supply. Therefore, the new organization is inviting seed companies to join and be part of the process. Many farmers said they would consider producing conventional soybeans if the seed supply would become more reliable.

In addition to Aprosoja and Embrapa, other participants in the proposed new organization include: Imcopa, Caramuru, Sementes Arco-Iris, Codeagri, Aprosmat, Ypemeri Sementes, Sementes Quati, and the Seed and Agribusiness Ecahange.