Concerns over genetically modified foods may be declining as it was revealed that Bayer AG and BASF SE plan to introduce genetically modified soybean seeds to their farms in Brazil this year. Both companies are trying to break Monsanto Co.'s 10-year dominance in Brazil, which is the second-largest producer of soybean in the world.
Bayer CropScience is offering soybean seed varieties resistant to the herbicide glufosinate ammonium. These seeds will be available for the planting season, which starts in October, and have been developed as an alternative to Monsanto's glyphosate-resistant seeds. BASF SE plans to offer their own herbicide-resistant soybean varieties for the next planting season. Soybeans account for around 50% of Brazil's total grain and fiber output, and the country is surprisingly supportive of genetically modified organisms. 94% of Brazil's soybean plantings have been modified to resist glyphosate weed killer.
The global market for seed treatment in soybean is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 9.5% between 2015 and 2020, as noted in a recent industry report. This growth could be higher if Bayer and BASF's attempts in Brazil prove successful, as they are likely to further invest in soybean genetic engineering techniques. It may also encourage neighbouring countries in South America to embrace biological seed treatment with the same enthusiasm as Brazil.
The global market for biological seed treatment is projected to reach a value of USD 560.98 by 2019, as forecast in a crop farming market report. The report names BASF, Bayer and Monsanto as the leading companies in this market, and their contest for Brazil is likely to result in higher market growth than predicted.