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Saturday, November 08, 2003

The Quality of Soya is not Strained

Back to the fascinating story of Brazil's soyabeans for China. Today there is an interesting follow up: the Chinese are worried about quality:

Brazil's agriculture minister Roberto Rodrigues will meet his Chinese counterpart in Beijing later today to resolve quality problems that have slowed Brazil's soybean exports to China, the world's biggest buyer of the oilseed. Brazil, the world's second-largest soybean producer, plans to send inspectors to its main ports to ensure shipments of soybeans to China are free from fungal contamination and don't contain grass or other waste matter, Rodrigues said in an interview at the World Economic Forum's 22nd annual China Summit in Beijing. "Starting now we are sending inspectors to our main ports,'' Rodrigues said. ``Some exporters have wanted to make big profits in one shipment by mixing good quality soybeans with bad quality. We are doing our homework now to resolve the problem.''

In August, China's quality inspection bureau banned new orders for soybean shipments handled by Cargill Ltd., Louis Dreyfus & Cie., Bunge Ltd. and other international traders, citing concerns that shipments contained too much grass or fungus. The ban was the latest in a series of disruptions that started when China introduced regulations on genetically-modified crops last year. Rodrigues will meet Qi Jingfa, China's vice agriculture minister, and Li Changjiang, head of China's quality inspection bureau, later today. China has said it found fungus and other contaminants in shipments of soybeans from Brazil. The discovery has prompted a slowdown in issuance of soybean import permits for shipments from the South American country. Brazil will pledge at the meeting to identify shipments that contain genetically-modified soybeans, Rodrigues said. Of Brazil's total soybean harvest of 51 million tons this year about 7 million tons are gene-modified. That figure will rise to 10 million tons next year, he said. Brazil's soybean harvest may rise to as much as 58 million tons in 2004.
Source: Bloomberg

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