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NCGA: Biotech Trait not Approved in Japan

The National Corn Growers Association is warning that a rootworm trait has not received full approval in Japan, meaning marketability restrictions on the grain.

The National Corn Growers Association is warning corn growers that Syngenta's Agrisure Rootworm trait has not received full approval in Japan.

NCGA is requesting that Syngenta withhold the release of the trait due to marketing complications the group says the trait could cause with Japan if planted by U.S. corn growers.

"Growers planting the Agrisure Rootworm trait should be aware that if Japanese regulatory approvals are not granted by harvest, there will be serious restrictions on the marketability of the grain," says NCGA President Ken McCauley.

NCGA's biotech position supports commercial release of biotech corn events that have received full approval by both U.S. and Japanese regulatory agencies.

Jack Bernens, business unit director for the Agrisure Traits at Syngenta, notes that the company is working on approval for the Japanese market and that process is moving along well. "We've implemented a comprehensive communication/commitment program where growers need to identify an end-use location where they can take the grain and keep it in the domestic channel," he notes.

In fact, growers that buy seed with the Agrisure RW trait are to sign an agreement that outlines their marketing outlet for that crop this fall. If the agreement is not signed, the farmer will not be able to get the seed, Bernens says. "We'd rather you don't sell it than to sell to someone who is not willing to commit to an end-use location," he adds.

Bernens notes that the new trait is not significantly different from other rootworm genes - from a safety standpoint. "This is a 'cry' protein," he notes. The Cry type Bt proteins are at the heart of each competitors rootworm-controlling technology.

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