Mercosur full member Argentina this week is expected to approve the use of genetically-modified soy seeds made by German company Bayer as part of its push to increase farm production, a top Argentine official said on the weekend.
Bayer has welcomed the expected approval but the company has not said if or when it plans to commercialize its Liberty Link seed and herbicide in Argentina.
Argentina which is a top provider of soybeans, meal and oil -- has for years embraced genetically modified technology in its drive to help meet world food demand and cash in on high grains prices.
We have decided to approve a new genetically-modified soy product and we believe that with this we are contributing to the competitiveness of the sector according to Agriculture Secretary Lorenzo Basso.
We have to see if Bayer decides to put it in the market. That depends on the company, he added.
The product promises high yields in parts of the country where it is hard to grow Roundup Ready genetically modified soy, developed by US-based Monsanto and approved for use in Argentina in the 1990s.
Monsanto meanwhile is asking Argentine farmers to sign contracts promising to use its new Roundup Ready 2 Yield soy.
Argentina grows five times as much soy as it did 20 years ago, helping to fuel one of the fastest-growing economies in the region. Almost all the soy grown in the country is genetically modified.
Argentina is the world's top supplier of soy-oil and soy-meal as well as its No.3 provider of soybeans, behind the US and Brazil.