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Argentina authorizes sale of Bioceres' HB4 GMO wheat to farmers

BUENOS AIRES, May 12 (Reuters) - Argentina announced the authorization on Thursday of the commercialization within the country of the HB4 GMO wheat variety developed by Bioceres , as Argentine farmers are about to start planting wheat for the 2022/23 season.

The move will make Argentina the first country where farmers can plant GMO wheat, which in the case of Bioeceres' HB4 is more tolerant to water scarcity and resistant to the herbicide glufosinate-ammonium.

Argentina, one of the world's largest wheat exporters, was the first country to approve GMO wheat in 2020, followed by Brazil in 2021, who gave a green light to flour made with the new wheat, a trend that could continue if global supply is further constrained by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. nL6N2WY08X

The country's 2022/23 upcoming wheat harvest is expected to yield 19 million tonnes, according to the Rosario Grains Exchange.

INDEAR, which belongs to the Bioceres Group, is authorized to commercialize the seed and the products and by-products derived from the so-called IND-ØØ412-7 wheat, the Ministry of Agriculture said in the statement.

But the release of GMO wheat in Argentina is generating concern among grain exporters, who fear that many customers will stop importing the Argentine grain, as the vast majority of countries in the world have not yet authorized GMO wheat or its derivatives.

"This regulation causes a huge commercial risk," Argentina's oilseeds and grains exporters chamber said on its Twitter account, adding that "the economic consequences of eventual market losses will fall on the ministry and the developing company". (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Steven Grattan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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