Indonesia Approves GMO Drought-Tolerant Wheat from Argentina

April 2023

The Indonesian government has granted authorization for genetically modified organisms (GMO) wheat for human consumption, including Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp’s HB4 wheat. This wheat is now approved for usage in human consumption, going beyond its allowed usage in animal feed. Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp is an Argentine biotech firm that developed HB4 wheat. This approval comes as Argentina’s productive agriculture has suffered from severe drought conditions.

This authorization of GMO wheat is significant because it was previously not welcomed by many consumers, but it has gained popularity in recent years due to concerns about food security and climate change. The Indonesian government’s approval of GMO wheat followed Brazil’s market approval in March 2023. Indonesia is the world’s largest importer of wheat along with Egypt, and Argentina is one of the leading grain suppliers globally. Indonesia imported 1.34 million tonnes of wheat from Argentina last year, making it the second-largest wheat importer behind Brazil. The USDA predicts that Indonesian purchasers will import 11 million tonnes of wheat during the 2022/2023 harvest season.

Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp plans to improve its production of the patented HB4 variety in Argentina by working with “seed multipliers” to increase seed reserves. The HB4 wheat was developed by introducing a sunflower gene that allows the wheat to cope with drought conditions. Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp has claimed that HB4 wheat has shown a 20% increase in yields and requires 25% less water.

The authorization of GMO wheat in Indonesia is considered a breakthrough because the country’s previous reluctance towards GMO crops and products hindered many biotech firms’ expansion. The approval provides opportunities for firms like Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp to establish a foothold in the world’s largest wheat import market. The Indonesian government hopes that this approval will help improve the country’s wheat production and reduce dependence on imported wheat.

(Source: Reuters)

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