WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and the National Farmers Union have joined 14 other organizations in Australia, Canada and the U.S. in support of innovation in wheat, including the future commercialization of biotechnology.
The National Association of Wheat Growers, the North American Millers’ Association and the U.S. Wheat Associates were among the nine original members who voiced support back in 2009 for the future commercialization of biotechnology.
In the new statement issued June 5, the signatories highlighted seven ways in which they are united to responsibly advance wheat innovation, including:
•“We support and encourage the use of innovation to help solve pressing problems to address global food security needs;
•“We are encouraged by numerous investments in wheat research since 2009;
•“We encourage exporting and importing nations to maintain sound, science-based biotech regulatory systems;
•“We encourage expediting the adoption of reasonable low level presence policies in exporting and importing nations to minimize trade disruptions resulting from asynchronous approvals;
•“We believe the use of biotechnology to improve wheat is as safe as conventional practices;
•“We understand choice is paramount; and
•“We share the goal of synchronized commercialization of biotech traits in our wheat crops and timely regulatory approval for those traits in importing countries.
The groups said the world needs “innovative solutions” to meet the growing global demand for wheat foods.
“We are committed to a constructive dialogue with our customers, producers and value chain members to responsibly work together on wheat innovation, including biotech trait commercialization,” the groups said.
For its part, the American Farm Bureau Federation said it is “proud” to be among the organizations united in ensuring wheat supplies remain abundant while meeting the highest quality and nutrition standards.
“Representing about 20% of human calorie intake, wheat is an essential part of the global diet and critical to food security,” the AFBF said. “Unfortunately, wheat production is on a downward trend around the world because net returns per acre often favor other crops. Wheat demand could very well outstrip the supply in the not-so-distant future. As such, further innovation in research and biotechnology is key to realizing the promise of improved products, more sustainable production and environmental benefits.
“AFBF supports the effort to synchronize the commercialization of biotech traits in wheat. While acknowledging the importance of commercializing biotech wheat to ensure farmers can meet worldwide demand, we are equally adamant that customer choice is paramount. Where there is demand for non-biotech wheat, we will work to see it is met. In addition, we are urging the governments of wheat growing and importing countries to maintain sound, science-based regulatory systems, as well as to adopt reasonable low-level presence policies to keep trade flowing.”
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the world’s wheat supply has been thrown into question, with poorer nations facing scarcity and a potential food crisis, according to the United Nations.
Following are countries among the world’s least developed that are the most dependent on Russia and Ukraine for their annual wheat supply (2020), according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development. Nations in Africa import 44% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine, according to the UN.
In marketing year 2022-23, the world is projected by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to produce 779.03 million tonnes of wheat and provide 204.89 million tonnes for export.
These are the eight major wheat importing nations/regions as listed in the monthly USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report and their annual tonnes with production.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and the persistent La Niña climate phenomenon have combined to create some of the most volatile market conditions in recent memory, sending prices skyrocketing as nations that depend on wheat to feed their populations scramble to secure supplies.
Each month, the WASDE releases new projections to reflect the most recent global market and production conditions, and this slideshow will be updated with those changes.