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Argentina's GDM prepares launch of new GMO soy seeds in SA

Plant genetics company GDM has applied for registration in South Africa of 13 soy plant varieties after the country approved the use of a new GMO seed technology, according to company executives on Monday, 27 February...
Source: manfredrichter via Pixabay]]
Source: manfredrichter via Pixabay]]

GDM is based in Argentina but derives most of its sales in neighbouring Brazil, where that same technology has been in use since 2014.

The expectation is that three of the 13 materials be pre-launched this year, as the firm hopes to bolster its South African business and prepare incursions throughout the region.

"Our target is that by 2027 more than 50% of the area planted with soybeans in South Africa contains our genetics," said Thiago Schwonka, the company's Africa, Asia and Europe business leader.

Tackling food insecurity

GDM's strategy reflects a recent push by African governments to tackle food insecurity by attracting plant genetics firms.

Schwonka said that while South Africa is the only African nation that recognises the intellectual property of autogamous, or self-fertilising plants, other countries are keen to modernise their patent laws and join the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).

All the 13 materials GDM plans to register in South Africa feature Bayer's INTACTA RR2 PRO GMO seed technology, designed to help soy plants resist caterpillars and the glyphosate weed-killer.

South Africa's approval of that technology came in 2021, GDM said.

Joao Schechtel, GDM's product placement supervisor, noted much of South Africa's soy is used as cattle feed during the dry months of winter. He said corn remains South Africa's main crop, but added farmers may grow soy planting in corn areas because corn production costs are rising.

GDM also plans to launch non-GMO wheat seeds in South Africa shortly. By 2027, it wants to achieve a 20% share of the wheat seed market there, the executives said.


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About Ana Mano

Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Steven Grattan and Josie Kao.

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