BUENOS AIRES: Argentina has become the first country to approve the growth and consumption of genetically modified wheat, the country's agriculture ministry announced Thursday. The ministry's scientific commission said in a statement released in Buenos Aires that it had approved a drought-resistant variety of wheat in the world's fourth-largest exporter of the crop.
"This is the first approval in the world for drought-tolerant genetic transformation in wheat," the National Commission for Science and Technology (CONICET) said in a statement.
However, experts expressed concern about the growth and marketing of genetically modified crops (GMOs), citing difficulties in marketing such produce to consumers concerned about their effect on health and the environment.
CONICET said the genetic modifications to Argentina's wheat crop would have to be approved in Brazil, historically the country's biggest export market, to be commercially viable. Some 45 percent of Argentina's wheat exports in 2019 went to Brazil. Other key markets are Indonesia, Chile and Kenya. The drought-resistant HB4 wheat variety was developed by Argentine biotechnology company Bioceres, working with the National University and CONICET.