BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina on Friday formally became the first country in the world to approve the use of drought-resistant genetically modified (GMO) wheat, prompting fierce criticism by the country’s massive export agriculture industry.

Bioceres’

HB4 wheat is resistant to drought and tolerates the herbicide glufosinate sodium, a combination the company says can help boost yields on dry years. But the government said the product cannot be sold before Brazil, Argentina’s biggest wheat buyer, approves its importation.

Last year, 45% of the 11.3 million tonnes of wheat exported by Argentina went to neighboring Brazil, which has not commented on the prospects of it approving the purchase of HB4 wheat.

Many farm groups in Argentina objected to the government’s approval of the product, over concerns it could prove a stigma for exporters.

“Not only are wheat and flour exports put at risk, but also pellets, starch, gluten, baked goods, noodles and all the products (that require additional processing),” said a statement signed by regional farmers’ associations, traders, and the influential Chamber of Cereal Exporters (CEC).

No other countries have yet approved the importation of GMO wheat, leaving Argentine farmers with little incentive to plant it. Environmental groups have warned that not enough is yet known about GMO crops, treated with weed killers like glufosinate sodium, for them to be safely consumed by humans.

A green light from Brazil would not trigger Bioceres to immediately commercially launch the new technology before getting approval from other markets, CEO Federico Trucco told Reuters on Thursday.

Associations linked to the farm supply chain in Argentina warned in the statement that national and international companies are already requesting assurances that the wheat they purchase does not have genetic modifications – in addition to its derived flour.

“The damage that would occur to the Argentine wheat

PARIS (Reuters) – Total

has taken a 20% equity stake in the Eolmed floating wind farm pilot project in France, which the French group said on Wednesday formed part of its broader plans to build up its presence in the wind power sector.

The 30 megawatts (MW) project is located in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Gruissan in France. The power company Qair is the majority shareholder in the project.

“This announcement once again demonstrates the group’s ambition and willingness to innovate in the field of renewable energies,” said Julien Pouget, director of renewables at Total.

Total did not disclose any financial details of the investment.

Last month, Total said it would hike its annual investments in renewable energy and electricity by 50% as it cuts its reliance on oil, emulating European rivals in a bid to become a major low-carbon power producer.

Total aims to have 35 gigawatts (GW) in gross renewable energy production capacity by 2025, up from a previous target of 25GW. The company has said that 70% of this target has already been accounted for, including projects still under construction.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, editing by Louise Heavens)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

Source Article

By Karen Braun

FORT COLLINS, Colo., Oct 6 (Reuters)U.S. agricultural exports to China had a sluggish start to 2020 relative to the lofty expectations set forth by the Phase 1 trade agreement, but the August value soared substantially over that of the prior months owing to strong soybean shipments.

U.S. cotton exports to China hit a seven-and-a-half-year high in August, while corn shipments to the Asian country reached an all-time record. But the combined export value of cotton and corn, the No. 2 and 3 items in August, was less than half that of soybeans, emphasizing the importance of the oilseed in the trade relationship.

According to data published on Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau, the United States in August shipped $2.15 billion in agricultural and related products to China, topping the 2012 record for the month by 19%.

That speaks to sheer volume of items being shipped given the price difference between 2012 and 2020. The August 2012 export prices of U.S. soybeans, cotton and corn to China were between 50% and 85% higher than in this year.

The actual August tonnage of soybeans to China missed last year’s record for the month, falling 11% to 2.45 million tonnes. But that is more than was shipped in the previous six months combined and is the second-highest August volume to China.

The strong soybean performance is primarily what bolstered the record August. Soybeans accounted for 41% of all U.S. farm goods shipped to China in August, the best since January’s 52%. (https://tmsnrt.rs/2SxKehv)

Soybeans’ share was 19% or lower between February and July, which was close to normal for the later months but sharply below normal in the earlier ones. That explains why U.S. farm exports to China were so dismal versus average earlier in 2020, then

By Christopher Walljasper

CEDAR GROVE, Wisc. (Reuters) – China may fall short of annual agricultural product purchasing commitments made in its Phase 1 trade deal with the United States due to “non-agricultural trade issues,” U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Friday.

“I’m not sure they’re going to make it, but they’re trying,” Perdue said during a town hall meeting with farmers at Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative. “Non-agricultural trade issues get in the way.”

China committed to importing $36.5 billion in U.S. farm products this year in the trade deal signed in January, but lagging purchases during the first half of the year cast doubt on the goal of increasing imports by more than 50% over 2017 levels.

It was unclear which trade issues Perdue believed were obstacles to the agreement. A series of hurdles have emerged since the Phase 1 deal was implemented, including a threatened U.S. ban on popular Chinese-owned social media app TikTok and an executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump ending preferential economic treatment for Hong Kong.

Chinese imports of U.S. agricultural products totaled just $8.6 billion from January through July, according to the latest U.S. Census trade data.

Buying has accelerated considerably in August and September, including around 12 million tonnes of soybeans and 4 million tonnes of corn, according to preliminary U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

(Story refiles to fix garbled text)

(Reporting by Christopher Walljasper in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin; Additional reporting by Karl Plume in Far Hills, New Jersey; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

Source Article

The MarketWatch News Department was not involved in the creation of this content.

Sep 30, 2020 (WiredRelease via Comtex) —
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