Ukraine Could be Key Supplier of GM-Free Soybeans to EU Market in Seven Years
The EU currently imports approximately 32 million tons of soybeans for animal feed annually from the U.S., Brazil, and Argentina, of which 5 million tons are GM-free. Of the GM-free shipments, a small percentage are originated from Ukraine.
Matthias Krön, president of Donau Soya, (Danube Soya Association), believes that Ukraine has the potential to gain market share in the EU’s growing GM-free soybean market, providing between 30% and 50% of the EU’s demand.
Even though this latent potential is possible, and Ukraine has increased its soybean acreage from 1.4 million hectares to 2 million hectares over the past several years, there still remains numerous challenges to its realization. Difficulties with Ukraine’s infrastructure, transportation, and soybean processing sector will need to be addressed prior to increasing exports to such an extent, and the country will need to determine toward what soybean industry segment it would like to direct its energies of development.
Despite the fact that the Ukrainian government has banned the production of GM soybeans, the percentage of total production dedicated to GM-free soybeans stands at between 30% and 70% depending on the source.
The country’s Svarog West Group is beginning a project with the Danube Soya Association on the certification of its fields, and plans to build a soybean processing plant to supply high-protein soya cake to the EU market. A total production of between 140,000 and 150,000 tons of GM-free soybeans is planned by the company for 2015/2016.