Major grain traders snub GM canola

Haidee VandenbergheCountryman

Two of Australia’s biggest grain traders say they have no plans to take genetically modified canola this season.

Elders-Toepfer Grain acting WA accumulations manager Ben Noll said the company was not currently taking GM canola and that was unlikely to change as the season progressed.

“From where we sit at the moment, we’re all non-GM, ” he said.

“We’re in the process of being involved in certification for the sustainability of canola products.”

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Under the European Union Renewable Energy Directive, canola for the European premium-paying biofuel market requires International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), which means sustainably produced canola is in and GM canola is out.

Glencore Grain, both Australia and WA’s second-biggest grain exporter, is not taking GM canola either — at least for the moment.

The company is also in the midst of ISCC.

Glencore Grain State manager Rob Haddrill said the company was targeting the European market, but could decide to buy GM canola as the season progressed.

“If the opportunity came up to trade GM canola, we would and we have done that in the past, ” he said.

“But at the moment, we’re focused on Europe being one of our key markets. There are premiums coming out of Europe for non-GM canola, so that makes more sense to us.”

Mr Haddrill said 95 per cent of WA’s canola went to Europe last year and given the dry conditions across much of northern Europe, demand would likely be high again this season.

Across other grain traders, GM canola is generally being taken and although the price spread could change as the season progresses, significant discounts are likely to continue.

Gavilon currently has a $40 discount for GM canola and AWB has a $30 discount.

Viterra has GM canola bidding at $45 below non-GM and Emerald at $30 below.

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