U.S. Soy Grower Leaders Hold Media Teleconference about ISGA’s Mission to China
- General News
USSEC chairman Laura Foell, United Soybean Board (USB) chairman Bob Haselwood, and American Soybean Association (ASA) chairman Wade Cowan hosted a media teleconference on April 23 to discuss their activities on behalf of the International Soy Growers Alliance (ISGA) in China.
The ISGA, according to Ms. Foell, is a united front that represents 90 percent of the world’s soybean exports. She said that the group, composed of growers and industry representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Paraguay, and the U.S., met with Chinese buyers, government officials and influencers during its second mission to China to discuss the importance of timely, science-based approvals for biotech soybeans.
Ms. Foell stressed the importance of the white paper that the coalition had brought to their Chinese partners demonstrating the economic impacts of slow biotech approvals on producers and consumers. The white paper’s data helps put a value on the problems caused by biotech approval systems that are not based on science. China has recently slowed their approval process and the paper is intended to “help them understand that impact,” said Ms. Foell, adding that a three-year approval delay could cost $19 billion for producers and consumers, noting that consumers will bear about 70 percent of the cost.
“A blip in the production chain negatively impacts consumers more than producers,” said Mr. Cowan.
Mr. Haselwood added that it is difficult to put a value on cost. “How willing would biotech companies be to put money into new events if there are so many delays?” he asked.
The grower leaders said that because there is so much consumer resistance to biotech in China, ways to educate the Chinese public are crucial.
U.S. Soy’s Moms to China program is already in place to reach out to social media bloggers, who are influencers of popular opinion, and Ms. Foell said the program would also like to feature South American farmers. Another educational piece in the works is a website in Mandarin, which will showcase U.S. farmers and their work.
Mr. Haselwood said that the ISGA partnership looks for opportunities to gain approvals of biotech events and the success of GMOs in general. “It will take all of us to meet China’s demand,” he stated.
Mr. Cowan stressed the importance of coming together with international partners from South America, saying, “We face similar obstacles as producers.” He said that presenting a “united message to face problems in ag” such as freedom to trade, genetic modification and sustainability is key. He continued, “Unity leads to increased production, productivity and profits.”