* GMO planting expands more than expected in August
* 89 pct of Brazil soybean crop is genetically modified
SAO PAULO Dec 17 Brazil will increase the
amount of land planted with genetically modified soy, corn and
cotton by 14 percent this season from a year ago as it shoulders
a growing share of the world's agricultural output, local
analytics firm Celeres said on Monday.
That is more than the 12.3 percent expansion in GMO crops
Celeres estimated in August. Brazilian farmers invested heavily
in technology to increase productivity this season, particularly
Nearly 89 percent of Brazil's soybean crop, which is likely
to be the largest in the world when it is harvested early next
year, has been planted with GMO seeds, Celeres said.
Brazil's ability to boost output was especially important
this season after the worst drought in 56 years caused serious
damage to U.S. crops, pushing soy and corn prices to record
highs in September, when Brazilian farmers started planting.
"The increase occurred mainly due to the favorable market
prices for the 2012/13 harvest, as well as the availability of
seeds adapted to producing regions," Celeres said in its report.
Biotechnology can increase production by enabling crops to
withstand herbicides, resist pests and even become more
drought-tolerant. But some countries, particularly in Europe,
have sought to block imports of GMOs due to public health and
With developing countries increasingly planting GMOs to feed
a growing world population, it may become harder for Europe to
stick to such restrictions.
The European Union in October approved the import of
genetically modified maize produced by Syngenta AG for
use in food and animal feed, clearing the way for more EU corn
imports from Brazil.
Celeres, based in the state of Minas Gerais, expects
Brazil's 2012/2013 crop to produce a record 79 million tonnes of
soybeans and 75.62 million tonnes of corn. Analysts polled by
Reuters expect an 81 million tonne soy crop and 70 million
tonnes of corn from Brazil.
(Reporting By Fabiola Gomes and Caroline Stauffer; Editing by
Lisa Von Ahn)