Tuesday, April 29, 2014

'Cui Bono' Over Ukraine: Monsanto Setting Up GMO Seed Corn Business in Ukraine

US President Obama sure works hard for biggest multinationals, as can be inferred from his recent sushi dinner with Japan's prime minister.

And Monsanto? His food safety 'czar', of all people, is a former Monsanto Vice President. Monsanto was also the winner of 27th Annual World Food Prize by the US State Department in 2013.

Several articles on GMO corn in Ukraine below, from the time the US was showing renewed interest in the domestic affairs in Ukraine, with Republican Senator John McCain greeting the head of one of the neo-Nazi groups and US Assistant Secretary of State Nuland handing out cookies to Kiev protesters in December 2013:

From Interfax Ukraine (11/5/2013; emphasis is mine):

Large Ukrainian agricultural associations have prepared draft amendments to the law on the state biosecurity system in creating, testing, transportation and use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) regarding the legalization of genetically modified seeds.

President of the Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA) Volodymyr Klymenko said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine that the relevant appeal to the president, the head of the Verkhovna Rada and the heads of parliamentary factions was signed by six agricultural associations.

"We could mull over this issue for a long time, but we, jointly with the associations, have signed two letters to change the law on biosecurity, in which we propose the legalization of the use of GM seeds, which had been tested in the United Stated for a long time, for our producers," he said.

According to the UGA president, currently the GM seeds of corn and soybeans are used in the country in spite of the legislative ban. Talking about the use of foreign experience in this field, Klymenko said that "we will never take someone's seeds and will never be able to study them, because this requires decades. Ukraine's way forward in this issue is either to agree or not to."

According to the expert, the United States produces about 75% of corn and 95% soybeans from GM seeds. The European Union banned the cultivation of GM crops, but GM products are imported and used, in particular, in animal breeding, added Klymenko.

From Bloomberg News (1/6/2014; emphasis is mine):

China Rejecting U.S. Corn as First Shipment From Ukraine Arrives

China continued to reject corn cargoes from the U.S. that contained an unapproved genetically modified variety while accepting a first bulk-carrier shipment of the grain from Ukraine.

Genetically modified corn and corn-derived products totaling 601,000 metric tons were rejected in 2013, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today, citing the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. A Panamax-sized shipment of non-genetically modified corn from Ukraine entered the country on Dec. 6, according to a statement dated Dec. 25 on the website of state-owned China National Complete Engineering Corp.

The quarantine agency’s newest figure cited by Xinhua was 56,000 tons more than it announced on Dec. 19, showing the government’s continued screening of U.S. corn and and dried distillers’ grains, or DDGS, for the unapproved insect resistanr MIR 162 gene. Net corn sales to China from the U.S. in the seven days through Dec. 26 dropped by 116,000 tons from the previous week, according to a report on the website of U.S. Department of Agriculture.

China National Complete Engineering carries out overseas engineering projects, often funded by Chinese government, according to its website. It began to market grain from Ukraine last year under a contract that became effective December 2012, according to the Dec. 25 statement.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture said in May 2012 the country agreed to finance $3 billion worth agriculture projects in Ukraine in exchange for terms including rights to sell Ukrainian farm products.

Ukraine may export 18 million tons of corn in 2013-2014, tying it with Argentina as the third-biggest supplier behind the U.S. and Brazil, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast in December.

From CNBC (3/18/2014; part, emphasis is mine):

...Now everything from an unstable currency to tight credit threatens the spring planting season, and the uncertain outlook for the Ukrainian economy is a longer-term threat to the prediction by some of the biggest agricultural companies that a future Ukrainian corn belt will rival the U.S. market.

Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont, said Michael Cox, senior analyst and research director at Piper Jaffray. Ukraine's growth is becoming even more important, as it will serve to counterbalance the South American farm markets, where overseas growth has been increasing in places like Argentina and Brazil for these companies.

..."It's the Western corporate farm operators that are pushing these new techniques,'' Cox said. "The U.S. has made this same transition. It took several decades, but that's as the technology was being developed. Since the technology and tools are readily available now, the improvement in yields could progress much faster in Eastern Europe.''

DuPont already has a corn seed production plant in Ukraine. Monsanto is building a $140 million seed plant that isn't open yet. Last week DuPont said in a regulatory filing that first-quarter earnings forecasts would be "challenged'' by the Ukraine crisis, which has caused delays in shipments of corn seed from its plant in Ukraine.

Here's Monsanto's current job openings in Kiev, Ukraine.


Anonymous said...

And then we Europeans have to eat genetically manipulated, radioactive corn from all around Tchernobyl, forced by the TTIP-agrrement to come....brave New World.

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