Approval for GM eucalyptus postponed after protests

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Approval for GM eucalyptus postponed after protests

March 09, 2015 - 20:45
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SAO PAULO, March 6, 2015 (RISI) -A decision over the use of genetic modified (GM) eucalyptus plantations in Brazil was postponed after protesters disrupted and occupied a meeting organized by the Brazilian National Technical Biosafety Commission (CTNBio). The Mar. 5 session had convened to decide whether to approve the use of three new GM species in the country, two corn varieties and one GM eucalyptus, named as H421.

The discussion was cancelled and debates about the GM eucalyptus approval are expected to resume in the next CTNBio meeting, scheduled for Apr. 9.

The H421 approval request was submitted by Futurage, Suzano's biotechnology arm, in order to begin commercial plantations of GM eucalyptus in Brazil. To protest against it, a group of about 1,000 members of the landless movement invaded and attacked Futuragene's facilities in Itapetininga, São Paulo state, southeast Brazil, destroying all the greenhouses and several seedlings. Futuragene, though, told RISI that its laboratory and research documents were preserved.

According to Futuragene, the technology developed by the company could position Brazil as a new model for the planted forest industry. The firm stated that their GM eucalyptus can be harvested in 5.5 years compared to 7 years for a regular crop, while increasing productivity by 15% and CO2capture by 12%.