Acting upon a request from the Polish Grain & Feed Chamber, a longtime USSEC cooperator, and its allies in Poland’s poultry, swine and dairy industries, USSEC organized a special seminar devoted to the benefits of biotech soybean products and derived feeds and the threats to the European livestock industry if it turns its back on genetically enhanced soybeans.
The ban on GM feed was introduced in Poland in 2006, but has never been fully implemented, thanks to moratoriums on putting the law into practice adopted every few years under pressure from the local feed and livestock industries. The present moratorium ends on December 31 and threatens to cut the Polish food chain off from necessary soybean imports.
Marek Przeździak, a director of the Polish Federation of Food Producers and an agricultural lawyer, who works closely with EuropaBio Group, spoke about various negative consequences of asynchronous authorization of new GM crop events in the EU to European agriculture and economy as a whole. While registration of novel biotech events takes only 12 months in Australia and 23 months in the U.S., the EU needs 78 months to close such a process. Such asynchronous and asymmetric authorization increases financial risk for suppliers and leads to disruption in the whole agricultural production chain and a 25 percent rise in food prices. If only conventional beans are allowed in Europe, the disruptions in major soy exporting countries may boost soy and soy-based feed prices by more than 200 percent.
Dr. Francisco Areal, researcher at the University of Reading, UK, presented various studies proving GM soybeans were indispensable raw materials in the EU and evaluated several alternatives and their economic impacts on feed manufacturing and livestock producing sectors; he assumed both Spanish and EU perspectives.
“The total impact of a potential ban on imports of soy to Spain would result in $60 billion in added cost,” concluded Dr. Areal. “The EU could only replace 10 to 20 percent of soybeans and soymeal imported to the EU with increased production and imports of non-biotech protein-rich crops.”
The educational event was completed with a broad picture analysis by Professor Tomasz Twardowski, a Polish biotechnologist and educator, on “Polish and EU Bio Economy without GMO: Is it Possible?” and USSEC Regional Director - EU / Middle East/North Africa (MENA) Brent Babb’s expose on safety, quality and sustainability of U.S. Soy, which transitioned into a vigorous discussion.
Some interesting regulatory solutions to improve biotech feedstuffs and food trade were presented by the participants and speakers that were carefully noted by USSEC and the Chamber’s reps to be further discussed in an industry meeting with the hope to result in an official industry request to Polish legislators.