Brazil government studies ways to segregate GM, non-GM soybeans

SAO PAULO, Brazil, December 1, 2003 -- CropChoice news -- Reuters, 11/28/03: The government is studying alternative ports to Paranagua for exporting the 2003/04 (Oct/Sep) soy crop following a Parana state law banning the export of GM soybeans, the transport ministry said.

"Parana is already a bottleneck. My role is to create conditions in other ports so that all the soy is shipped," Transport Minister Anderson Adauto told reporters, referring to huge queues of soy trucks outside the port in recent years.

The minister has set up a working group to discuss the issue and it will meet for the first time next week.

The group consists of representatives from the Agriculture Ministry, National Association of Cereals Exporters (Anec) and the Brazilian Agriculture and Livestock Confederation (CNA).

Although the Oct. 27 Parana state law, which bans the planting, processing, sale and transport of genetically modified (GM) crops, has been challenged in the courts, the government believes it may still be in force next year.

"It's clear that GM soy won't be sent there (Paranagua) so we must think of alternatives," said Adauto speaking at a cereals exporters' dinner in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

Exporters strongly criticized the Parana state law, which comes ahead of an expected record soy crop in 2004.

"Next year we will have 1.5 million soy (truck and train) loads arriving at Paranagua. I want to know how one can test them all for GM material ?" Sergio Mendes, Anec executive secretary, said in a speech.

Despite the Parana GM crop ban, hundreds of soy producers in Parana state have signed a federal government document saying that they will plant GM crops.