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China approves imports of GM soybean from Brazil
by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) June 11, 2013

China, the main buyer of Brazilian soybeans, has approved imports of three genetically modified varieties of the crop, to be produced on a large scale in the South American country.

The Agriculture Ministry said Monday that China gave its green light for the Intacta RR2 PRO variety, which can resist pests such as a type of caterpillar, as well as for the herbicide-resistant CV 127 and Liberty Link.

The agreement followed a meeting of Chinese and Brazilian agriculture ministers in Beijing.

Many Brazilian soybean producers were awaiting China's approval before embarking on production of these genetically modified varieties, the ministry said.

Of the 7.2 million tons of soybean exported by Brazil in April, more than 5.6 million went to China.

"This approval is even more important in view of the spread of the Helicoverpa armigera caterpillar in several Brazilian states," the ministry said in a statement.

Larvae of this moth species have caused $750 million in damage to cotton and soybean fields of the northeastern state of Bahia this year.

Historically, control of these pests with insecticides has led to insecticide resistance and dramatic reductions in beneficial populations.

Brazil, which is poised to overtake the United States as the world's leading soybean producer, plans to produce 81.3 million tons during the 2012-2013 harvest, 10.9 percent more than in the previous year.

China, the world's most populous nation with 1.3 billion people and the world's second biggest economy, is Brazil's leading partner in the farming sector, importing around $15 billion of agricultural products, mainly soybeans.


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