Paraguay approves drought-resistant soybean variety

SANTIAGO, (Reuters) – Argentine biotechnology company Bioceres SA said on Tuesday that Paraguay, the fourth largest exporter of soy, had approved a soybean seed resistant to drought and “HB4” herbicides, adding the South American nation to a growing list of countries authorizing it.

The variety, developed by Bioceres and U.S.-based Arcadia Biosciences Inc through joint venture Verdeca, has already been approved by the United States, Brasil and Argentina, the world´s three top soy exporters.

Canada, which exports 70 percent of soybeans produced here, is the fifth largest exporter of soybeans, moving 5.3 million tonnes in 2018-19.

“Seen from the standpoint of market opportunity, this not only adds more than 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres), but also helps us in development efforts for southern Brazil, where production conditions are generally similar,” said Bioceres CEO Federico Trucco in a statement.

The company said China, the world’s leading importer of soybeans, continues to evaluate the approval of the “HB4” variety. Bioceres said it expects a decision by the end of 2020.

“A green light from the Chinese is a necessary condition for the sale of the variety in Argentina”, he added.

The U.S., Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay together are responsible for 93% of the 149.7 million tons of soybeans to be exported in the 2019/20 harvests, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

China is a key market for the top five exporters.

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