February 20, 2019
Argentine biotechnology in debate
Bioceres is a company with more than 350 partners from different origins, including cooperatives, small and large producers, industrials, financial institutions, and high-tech services and companies.

The purpose of the company is to facilitate the flow of knowledge from the academic sphere to society, integrating the global knowledge networks and making them available to different productive actors.

Bioceres has collaborated with multiple R & D initiatives in the private and public sector in Argentina, the HB4 initiative being the most outstanding to date. The HB4 technology is derived from a gene extracted from sunflower, which confers tolerance to drought and salinity to plant species, being unique in the world for its technical characteristics and state of development.

The HB4 technology, both in its application to soybean and wheat, is a joint development with CONICET, in a clear example of public-private synergy.

In wheat, this technology has obtained favorable opinions in different instances: from CONABIA in the environmental aspects, and from SENASA with regard to human and animal health. In addition, it is in the process of deregulation in different countries of the world. For its release to the market only the commercial approval by the Argentine government is lacking.

The commercial chain of wheat identifies risks in its commercial approval. Their fears are based on the fact that this wheat would be the first of its kind in the world. In addition, they consider that Argentina is a small player that could be marginalized and our competitors could use this to have commercial advantages over our wheat.

These same fears, with different situations, were exposed when soybean or transgenic corn was approved. The reality showed that the benefits for the country and the Argentine society were extraordinary. A substantial difference is that this time, the technology is of national origin.

Bioceres does not ignore these fears and believes that they could be mitigated with different tools such as the use of preserved identity systems, and / or the approval of the event in countries selling and / or buying wheat. For sellers, the advantage would be to be able to access this technology that increases productivity, especially in a context of increasingly frequent droughts due to climate change. For buyers, the advantage could lie in the stabilization of the offer, alleviating price volatility.

In addition to Argentina, Bioceres has initiated the regulatory procedures for the approval of this technology in Brazil, the United States, Uruguay and Paraguay. The company also expects to initiate applications in Bolivia, Chile and Colombia for the remainder of 2019.

Specifically, in the case of Brazil, the main historical market for Argentine wheat, Bioceres is advancing in the approval process by the Brazilian authorities. In March, after two years of consultations with regulators and specialists from the Brazilian market, Bioceres will present together with the local company TMG the approval request for human and animal consumption. The neighboring country has an evaluation system based on scientific criteria model in the world and has recently approved a bean crop and a sugar cane GMO.

On the other hand, the company is working with renowned cereal processors to offer a purchase guarantee for producers who decide to opt for this productive solution, in order to provide coverage in any scenario of commercial uncertainty.

President Macri was personally involved in this debate that goes beyond the issue of wheat or Bioceres. What we are debating is whether Argentina is going to be a leader in the times of the bioeconomy and if it is capable of making intelligent collective decisions by looking beyond the obstacles, mitigating risks and projecting a future that has it as a protagonist.

The proposal of the President of approval subject to agreements in the commercial chain allows opening the debate and having the space for the construction of a leadership path with few precedents in Argentine history. It is a unique opportunity that we want to take advantage of.

Automatic translation from spanish.

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