Dr. Clive James verified in loco that China is investing more than 500 millions of dollars/year in biotechnology, through several research centers and a community of more than 2000 scientists. The Chinese really believe that biotechnology came to help the people, promote the peace and alleviate poverty. In China, the rural area is less developed and with biotechnology it will be able to progress and also increase the output, that only in rice had a decrease of 15% in the last seasons.
Technological advancements demand usually high investments, therefore is normal for those who are in this activity to claim for financial return. In this sense, the company Monsanto charges a fee in Brazil of R$ 7,00/t. The farmer pays this amount, however, he saves more US$14,00/t with others inputs, considering for a productivity of 2.5t/ha.
The Latin-American Seed Federation elected Dr. Ywao Miyamoto as its new president. His work platform includes the strengthening of the seeds institutions of the region and the harmonization of standards and norms for the seed trade.
Accreditation and AuthoriZation
In 1999 the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) initiated an experiment on the accreditation and authorization of company seed testing laboratories.
From the data obtained from the ISTA Proficiency Tests, the ISTA Audit Programme and monitoring data from some member countries, it could be concluded that in regard to the performance, there is no difference between company and non-company laboratories.
Consequently, company seed testing laboratories can become ISTA members, and become accredited and authorized to issue ISTA Certificates.
According to Dr. Eduardo Villota, Colombia loses more than 10 millions dollars/year due to the lack of payment of royalties to the obtainers. Efforts are being done by the association of seed producers and the government to minimize this piracy. One of the alternatives is to hire specialized people for the identification of illegal seed business.
It was concluded, last August the VI Graduate course of specialization on seeds an initiative of the partnership between the national seed program of Bolivia and the Federal University of Pelotas - Brazil. There were 95 participants, being 85 from Bolivia and the others from Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Panama. This training program is one of the biggest involving two countries of the South hemisphere.
FAO has already accomplished some workshops about seeds for small farmers. It was verified, according to Dr.Arturo Martinez, that larger farmers tend to use seeds of better quality and that the government has an important role in helping small farmers, mainly in the identification of a channel between the informal and formal seed system.
The Cool Seed Company developed a methodology for cooling the seeds in the bagging bin. In this way, the seed is able to be put in the warehouse with low temperature, therefore avoiding to cool of the entire place, that would be costly and less effective.
Australia has already contributed a lot with the sector of tropical forages seeds; now Brazil is also beginning to participate. Besides those two countries, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) located in Cali, Colombia, has also contributed a lot. The most recent contribution was the liberation of a hybrid to the market, whose seed multiplication is by apomixis. In terms of germplasma, Brazil, Australia and CIAT are the most important guardians of this treasure.
Import of GM corn for animal feed
The European Commission has authorized the importation and sale of genetically modified corn known as NK603 for import and processing. This decision is valid for 10 years and authorizes Monsanto, the company which applied for the authorization, to put the product in the market. The NK603 corn has been subject to the rigorous pre-market risk assessment and it has been scientifically assessed as being as safe as any conventional corn.
There are calculations showing that the cost for secreting corn with a tolerance of 5% of transgenic is US$ 1.00/t while for a tolerance of 0,9% is US$ 2.60/t. In soybean those values are US$ 2.70 and US$ 4.70 respectively. Very low tolerances, beyond the high cost, are difficult to be obtained, increasing the chances of fraud.
Dr. Oscar de Córdoba, traditional breeder of corn and sorghum, is expanding the Farmex company, settled in Peru, to others countries of Latin America. Many contacts were made during the Pan-American Seed Seminar, being some of them with Brazilian businessmen. These events offer great opportunity to initialize partnerships.
Dr. Bernard Le Buanec from the International Seed Federation (ISF) has among his attributions to state the position from ISF in each entity member. He is frequently called to explain how the entity can help the international seed trade.
Bolivia has a seed program that deserves recognition. Among its strenghtness, is the high use rate of certified seeds, around 70%, and the confidence that the seed community deposits in the authorities of the sector. In the agricultural year of 2003/04, the payment of royalties for protected cultivars achieved more than a million of dollars - this for an area of 800.000 ha of soybean (the main species).
People are eating better, therefore many countries increased in more than 20% the average consumption of energy/day, in the last years. Verifying with more detail, it is possible to observe that this can be attributed to the increase of meat consumption. In other words, the demand of corn will keep on increasing to be transformed in meat. There are forecasts that in 10 years corn will be the king of cereals.
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