South America Calling

Brazil Government Decision Frustrates US Corn Import Hopes

Brazilian biosecurity officials have dealt a blow to the local poultry and pork producers' hopes of importing U.S. corn at the end of the year.

The Brazilian Biosecurity Commission (CTNBio) on Friday approved the use of one Monsanto genetically-modified corn variety commonly used in the U.S. (MON 87411) but decided approval of three other varieties needed further analysis.

Without approval of all varieties, it will be risky for local corn consumers to import U.S. corn as cargoes aren't commonly segregated.

The Brazilian meat industry and the agriculture ministry sees importing as a way of easing the pressure on domestic corn prices caused by domestic second-crop corn losses and aggressive exporting.

Analysts expect Brazil to import around 600,000 metric tons of corn at the end of the year to cover a shortfall.

Environmental Ministry officials on the commission asked for further analysis on approval of two Monsanto varieties and one Syngenta variety. That approval may come at the next CTNBio meeting in October, but leaves little time to organize corn imports. The other main option Brazil has is to import from Argentina, although December/January are the depths of the inter-harvest season there.

"The decision by the representatives of the environmental ministry delays an important resolution, leaving consumers at the mercy of ever-higher prices (and) worsening the situation of companies that probably will continue to gradually reduce production," aid Francisco Turra, president of the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA) in a statement.

Alastair Stewart can be reached at



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