“… the industry concern has to do with the uncertainties of consumers’ reactions …”
Rubens Barbosa is the executive president of the Brazilian Wheat Industry Association (Abitrigo) and CEO of the Brazilian Institute of International Relations and Foreign Trade. He has also served as Ambassador of Brazil in London and in Washington.
AgriBrasilis – CTNBio1 approved the transgenic wheat during November of 2021. Is the transgenic wheat safe?
Rubens Barbosa – According to the technical report of CTNBio, the transgenic wheat is safe. The report is based on food safety technical criteria.
AgriBrasilis – What are the reasons for the wheat industry resistance against the transgenic wheat?
Rubens Barbosa – The industry’s main concern has to do with the uncertainty of consumers’ reaction. We don’t object to the technical criteria used by the CTNBio. There is no wide survey about the reaction of consumers regarding to wheat products (bread, dough, cake, cookie). We are awaiting the results of those first studies made with consumers and other organizations with interest in this matter.
AgriBrasilis – What is the estimate of when and in what quantities the transgenic wheat be imported?
Rubens Barbosa – The [processing] industry will not import the transgenic wheat. Abitrigo does not have any work regarding the possible imports by other segments of the wheat production chain.
AgriBrasilis – What are the reasons for the recent high international wheat prices and what consequences we might expect?
Rubens Barbosa – A series of reasons regarding climate have affected wheat prices in the international markets of Canada and the USA. New export taxes in Russia have also contributed to shoot wheat prices up. An outlier. Besides that, the high freight and the fluctuations of the exchange rates swayed the price.
I believe that this setting of high prices and equally high costs will continue in 2022. The consequence, from the industry’s point of view, will be the reduction of margins. The industry’s profits will continue being affected.
CTNBio1 : Multidisciplinary collegiate body that assists the Brazilian federal government in the design, update and implementation of the National Biosafety Policy for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).