Today Australia approved drought resistant HB4 wheat. It is a 100% Argentinian development, the result of a public-private collaboration of more than 18 years between the company Bioceres and the research group of the Institut d’Agrobiotechnologie du Littoral (CONICET-UNL), directed by Dr. Raquel Chan, Head of Research Leading to Development. Last week, approval for HB4 soy was obtained from China.
“Australia has one of the most prestigious regulatory systems in the world,” a company spokesperson said., who added: “I keep being surprised by so many advances in such a short time, but the truth is that it is not by chance: this technology is more and more necessary and demanded by the world. . In a context where the harmful effects of climate change are more and more frequent, it is no longer a question of Argentine science that brings innovative and unique solutions to the world, but of the world that exponentially demands and needs our technological developments”.
From Bioceres they argue that HB4 wheat “can be part of the solution to the challenge of food security, a problem that, in addition to increasing due to climate change, is today more relevant than ever as l ‘one of the great consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine’.
It should be remembered that some time ago the government of Brazil issued a resolution in favor of the new technology. In other words, transgenic wheat approved for flour, not grain or seed.
HB4 wheat varieties have an incorporated sunflower gene that increases tolerance to drought conditions, reducing yield losses due to water deficit. From the company, they argue that the approval in Brazil confirms what the Argentine authorities had decided, that HB4 wheat is safe for the environment and for human and animal health.
Moreover, they pointed out that For food producers, the new technology will increase their yields per hectare and reduce their exposure to the effects of drought. As an example, they cited the fact that results in the most drought-affected fields became 42% higher with HB4. On the other hand, they assured that there will be an advantage for the entire Argentine economy, because it can reduce exposure to climatic phenomena, and also for the environment, because the increase in productivity per hectare helps preserve natural resources.
On the other hand, at the end of last year, the National Institute of Seeds (INASE) published a resolution by which “the HB4 Wheat Audit Commission was created within the framework of the Control Department, depending on the National Direction of the federal articulation of INASE”. This, as detailed, will be constituted “exclusively by agents of the aforementioned National Institute”, and its mission will be to receive from Bioceres, within five days, “the current inventory of stocks in each of the factories of transformation and/or storage places with georeferencing of their location. You must declare classified and unclassified materials, scrap and purging materials”. All information provided “will be confidential and will only be used by INASE”.
Ultimately, The regulations stipulate that on the basis of the declared material, “the owner is authorized to keep up to 20% in seed quality, having to identify, in this case, the place of storage and its conditions, in order to allow its control and its verification” . And it is added: “Any material that is not included in the previous article (that is to say in the 20% mentioned), must be deactivated in its germinative power and/or transformed, and the place of treatment, work schedule and destination as well, within a period not exceeding 10 days.