During March 22-25 the main farming event in Argentina, Expoagro 2014, took place in Santa Fe state, and recent advances in agriculture and farming were highlighted. Farming is the main economic activity of Argentina, and biotechnology has played a central role in farm development and transitioning to a more precise form of agriculture. Local policies have allowed the use of genetically modified organisms, and that led to a green revolution in the 1990s, with incremental increases in productivity, as well as the development of fertilizers, biofuels, bioplastics and other by-products, all of which have significantly increased economic output levels per cultivated area.
Both national and multinational companies were present at ExpoAgro 2014. The star of the event was RR2Bt transgenic soy, called the super soy, a GM crop tolerant to glyphosate and glufosinate ammonium herbicides and resistant to lepidopteran insects. Ninety percent of the total seeded soy in Argentina makes use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and super soy was first used in northern Argentina, where there were more difficulties in controlling undergrowth and plagues.
Now it is used in the Pampa, an area characterized by its rich soil. The super soy would lower the cost of production and increase the crop’s performance and profitability. NIDERA, a multinational corporation that has recently fused to the Chinese COFCO, has established a seed division in Argentina that presented at the meeting an improved RR2Bt transgenic soy, as well as corn and wheat. The local company Don Mario also presented new soy seeds, including RR2Bt. Other interesting biotech approaches showcased at the event included using tricoderma fungi as a pesticide for controlling plague in seeds. This proposal came from a private-public interaction between Rizobacter and the National Agricultural Technology Institute, INTA. In fact, seed fertilizing was offered as a service by several companies at the event, including the use of microbial fertilizers.
Expoagro 2014 is a meeting point for farmers, producers, investors, foreign visitors, and even politicians. The possibility of using genetic-engineering techniques in agriculture and farming in Argentina has proved its potential – that much was clear from Expoagro.