Ukraine could be key supplier of GM-free soybeans to EU market in several years - experts
KYIV. April 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukraine has great potential of entering the European genetically modified-free soybean market, demand on which is stably growing in the EU, President of Donau Soja Matthias Krön said at a press conference held at Interfax-Ukraine.
He said that the EU countries import around 32 million tonnes of soybeans every year, mainly from the United States, Brazil and Argentina, which is used to feed animals. Only 5 million tonnes of soybeans are GM-free soybeans. European consumers set stricter requirements for animal products, especially on the quality of fodder.
"Today Europe imports 5 million tonnes of GM-free soybeans. A small share of it arrives from Ukraine. My vision is that in the future Ukraine could provide for 30-50% of these soybeans. Of course, there are many challenges. The issues with transportation and possibilities of processing soybeans should be settled. Of course, this will not happen today, but in next five or six years," he said, adding that at present Ukraine is a large soybean producer in Europe.
Business Development Director in Ukraine at Probstdorfer Saatzucht Ges.mbH & CoKG, a member of Donau Soja, Felix Gohn, said that over the past several years Ukraine has increased the number of soybean fields from 1.4 million hectares to 2 million hectares and the country should define in what market segment it should develop. He said that the premium segment with higher added value holds prospects.
Svarog West Group Board Chairman Andriy Hordiychuk said that GM-free soybeans could cost $20-120 per tonne more on the global market than GM soybeans. The share of GM-free soybean production in Ukraine is 30 to 70%, according to various data, despite the fact that Ukrainian law bans the planting of GM soybeans.
Hordiychuk said that Svarog West Group recently entered Donau Soja and plans to promote its products to the European market.
"In 2015 we start a project with Donau Soja on the certification of our fields – these are around 10,000 hectares of soybeans which will be in line with additional quality requirements. These are procedures of additional control of production process," he said.
Hordiychuk said that in summer 2015 the company plans to start building a soybean processing plant to supply high-protein cake to the EU market. The target for 2015/16 agricultural year is at least 140,000-150,000 tonnes of products with the label "GM-free produce from Ukraine."