(Posted Mon. Mar 30th, 2015)
Leaders from MAIZALL, the international alliance for maize, were in Washington last week for discussions with senior U.S. officials from the Department of Agriculture, State Department and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative regarding ongoing cooperation with the governments of Argentina and Brazil on market access for crops derived from biotechnology.
“The National Corn Growers Association, working with the U.S. Grains Council and their counterparts in Argentina and Brazil, established MAIZALL to address concerns common to the three major corn exporting countries of the Americas,” said NCGA Pam Johnson, who represents the association at MAIZALL.
Along with NCGA and USGC, ABRAMHILO in Brazil and MAISAR in Argentina, work together through MAIZALL on shared interests of corn farmers from across the hemisphere. While the three countries are vigorous competitors in world markets, producers in all three are committed to trade, modern agricultural technology and improved market access.
In their meetings this week with U.S. officials, the MAIZALL group focused especially on challenges in China and the European Union affecting producers in the corn exporting countries and on the importance of intergovernmental dialogues to encourage development of effective policies for managing low level presence (LLP) of as-yet unapproved biotech traits.
“Without workable LLP policies, farmers lose no matter where they are from,” said Julius Schaaf, the Iowa farmer who serves as U.S. Grains Council past chairman and MAIZALL’s first president. “Either we lose access to beneficial technologies that improve our economic and environmental sustainability, or we risk losing access to markets because of the presence of trace levels of an event. This serves no one’s interest.”
In 2015, MAIZALL will continue its outreach to receptive pro-technology groups in the EU. The group is also looking toward ongoing discussions with Chinese and Korean officials and will continue to advocate regulatory harmonization on biotech events among the Americas.