The U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight made the following statement regarding farmers, exporters and handlers strictly following a stewardship plan for handling Syngenta's Agrisure Duracade corn.
“The U.S. Grains Council welcomes the announcement of an aggressive stewardship program for the release of Syngenta seed trait Agrisure Duracade to minimize the risk of export trade disruption. It is important for all sectors of the value chain -- individual farmers, technology providers, shippers and exporters alike -- to recognize the potentially significant international implications of their actions. The Council therefore urges producers who choose to plant Agrisure Duracade in 2014 to adhere carefully to their stewardship responsibilities in order to minimize the risk to U.S. export sales.
“Today’s unfortunate reality is that biotechnology approval systems around the world are not synchronous. In addition, some countries still lack effective, trade-enabling policies regarding the low level presence (LLP) of unapproved biotech events in grain shipments. Inadvertent commingling is almost certain to occur in the high volume U.S. commodity handling system, and modern testing methods are likely to detect even trace levels of unapproved events. The presence of unapproved events in the export stream therefore carries a significant risk of major international trade disruptions. Given the increase in corn production in competitor countries and the ability of buyers to source anywhere in the world, leakage of unapproved events may even result in the closure of some major markets to U.S. corn exports for an indefinite period.
“The U.S. Grains Council represents a wide variety of members across the value chain committed to maintaining an open and fair grain trading system around the world. We recognize the desire of producers to deploy new technology as soon as it becomes available. We recognize also that continued technology development is essential to achieving global food security and creating new opportunities for producers and agribusinesses. We believe, finally, that countries lacking a functioning, science based regulatory system ought not to enjoy a de facto veto over U.S. technology deployment. At the same time, however, the risk of costly trade disruption is significant and should be taken seriously by the entire value chain.
“There is no easy solution to these conflicting goals. In the short term, we urge all stakeholders to weigh the consequences of their actions, recognize the international implications of planting and marketing decisions, and stringently adhere to their stewardship responsibilities. In the long run, we encourage all parties to join the Council in working for a resolution of the low-level presence and asynchronous approval issues, which is the solution ultimately needed to serve the common interests of producers, agribusinesses, and consumers around the world.”