Bio-safety body approves, for the first time, a genetically modified soy resistant to the herbicide dicamba. Agronomists argue that dicamba’s toxicity increases its public health risks.
Dec. 13 — Brazil’s body for licensing genetically modified organisms approved the use of soy seeds developed by Monsanto that are resistant to the herbicide dicamba, a first in the country.
The Agriculture Ministry must still register the new genetically modified seed before can be planted and sold. But such authorization routinely follows the National Technical Commission for Bio-Safety approval, which was announced Dec. 8.
More than 80 percent of all soy in Brazil is genetically modified, and nearly all of it—like Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soy—is resistant to the glyphosate herbicide.
But the constant use of glyphosate on genetically modified soy has caused glyphosate-tolerant weeds to develop. So Monsanto has bio-engineered a genetically modified soy seed that is resistant to another more toxic herbicide, dicamba.
The dicamba-resistant genetically modified soy is already planted in Japan, the U.S. and Canada. Its planting is banned in Europe, but its consumption is allowed.
Leonardo Melgarejo, an agronomist with the Brazilian Association of Agro-Ecology, opposed the moving, calling dicamba “far more toxic” than glyphosate.
But Maria Sueli Soares, research agronomist associated with CTNBio, called the approval “a big step forward” for Brazil’s agriculture.