Genetically-modified drought tolerant wheat approved in Argentina

Argentina’s ministry of agriculture has granted approval of a genetically modified trait for wheat.

Bioceres announced on Thursday that its HB4 wheat “event” has been approved for growth and consumption, making Argentina the first country to approve HB4 drought tolerance technology for wheat.

The regulatory clearance follows the approval of HB4 soybean, which has been approved in other major production locations, including the U.S. and Brazil.

Commercialization of HB4 wheat in Argentina still hinges on import approval from Brazil, which purchases just over 85 per cent of its wheat from the southern neighbour.

Meanwhile, the regulatory approval process is advancing in the U.S., Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia, and Bioceres intends to start the process in Australia, Russia, and some countries in Asia and Africa, the company says. The company has made no mention of trying to bring the GM wheat to Canada.

The new drought tolerant HB4 wheat is a patented seed technology developed by Trigall Genetics, a joint venture of Bioceres with Florimond Desprez. Field trials during the last 10 years resulted in increased yields — by 20 per cent — in years impacted by drought.

“Our EcoWheat and EcoSoy products will enable food production companies and retailers the opportunity to offer consumers foods that are carbon neutral, in addition to other environmental benefits they increasingly desire,” says Federico Trucco, CEO of Bioceres, in a press release issued Thursday. “Importantly, our HB4 technology does not translate into higher costs for consumers, making sustainable foods widely accessible.”

Related: Unapproved GM wheat plants discovered in Alberta

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