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As India prepares to import corn for the first time in 16 years, at least one stipulation in its international tender has become much tougher to meet – that shipments of the crop are completely free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The Asian country of 1.2 billion people does not allow cultivation of any genetically modified food, and has rules that are supposed to ensure that imports contain no trace of GMOs. But an explosion in the use of GM crops worldwide means that purity grade has become harder to attain and, with a growing risk of the supply chain being contaminated, underlines the vulnerabilities faced by countries trying to stay GM free.
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“They can buy non-GMO corn, especially out of the Black sea region, but I doubt anybody can offer shipments with zero presence of GMOs,” James Dunsterville, an agricultural commodities analyst at Geneva-based commodities information platform AgFlow.
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Shrinking arable land, volatile weather and a world population tipped to top 9 billion by 2050 are increasing pressures to plant GM crops to boost yields and protect from pests.
Much of the corn in major producers such as the United States, Brazil and Argentina is GM, helping production hit record levels in recent years and keeping a lid on food prices.
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Though Ukraine and growers in Europe, such as France, do produce non-GMO corn, suppliers may not be able to guarantee supplies are completely free of gene-altered grains because of common bulk handling systems, said a trading manager with an international trading company.
Read full, original post: India’s target to import GMO-free corn: mission impossible?