The following are highlights from recent U.S. agricultural attache reports that are available on the FAS homepage at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/scriptsw/AttacheRep/attache_frm.idc.
Japan (Report number JA8076): Japans imports of planting seeds during calendar year (CY) 1997 dropped 19 percent to 96,000 metric tons, from 118,000 metric tons in CY 1996 even though Japans expenditures for each year totaled 15 billion Yen. The fall in the quantity of seed imports is primarily due to the weakening of the Yen against foreign currencies making imports more expensive to Japanese consumers.
Forage seed from Australia makes up the bulk of seed imports to Japan in terms of quantity. Over 2,608 metric tons of forage seed representing 76 percent of all seed imports into Japan came from Australia during CY 1997. Japans purchases of Australian forage seed represented 2,157 million Yen or 14 percent in terms of value of all seed imports by Japan during CY 1997.
The United States is an important supplier of many varieties of planting seeds to Japan, especially grass and vegetable seed. Planting seeds from the United States represented about 15 percent in terms of quantity and 46 percent in terms of value of all seed imports by Japan during CY 1997.
More than 96 percent of the rye grass seed imported by Japan came from the United States during CY 1997 and CY 1996. Japans imports of U.S. rye grass seed fell to 3,399 metric tons during CY 1997, from 3,704 metric tons in CY 1996. In addition, over 75 percent of the amount of fescue seed imported by Japan during CY 1997 came from the United States. Japan purchased 1,812 metric tons and 2,108 metric tons of U.S. fescue seed during CY 1997 and CY 1996, respectively.
The United States also dominates the vegetable seed import market in Japan. During CY 1996 and CY 1997, vegetable seeds coming from the United States represented 45 percent of all Japans vegetable seed imports in terms of quantity. Japan imported over 2,035 metric tons of vegetable seed in CY 1997, down from 2,880 metric tons in CY 1996. Japans outlays for U.S. vegetable seed also fell during CY 1997 to 1,482 million Yen, from 1,850 million Yen.
Consumer groups continue to express strong resistance to the introduction of transgenic planting seed in Japan. Despite efforts by Japanese Government sources and the trade media to inform the public of the positive aspects of transgenic seed, consumer groups persistently push for labeling requirements and full disclosure to consumers distinguishing transgenic products from traditional farm products. During August of this year, the Japan Consumer Union, a civic group comprising farm and consumer organizations, launched an intensive campaign contesting the benefits of "terminator" technology. Terminator technology eliminates a planting seeds ability to reproduce. Consumer groups fear that such technology will deprive farmers from saving seeds while allowing seed companies to attain monopolistic control over the seed market at the expense of the family farm.
Greece (Report number GR8034): Domestic production of cotton seed has fallen since the introduction of SJ2 Acala varieties into the Greek market. U.S. cotton seed represents 75 percent of the market and has further potential to grow. Results from field trials of transgenic cotton seed are proving the seed to be effective in deterring insects from damaging cotton crops. The seed is being tested in areas where bollworm attacks are reported to be as high as 30 percent. BT-Corn is scheduled to undergo field tests in 1999 provided the Ministry of Environment issues the proper approvals.
Farmers in Greece prefer U.S. wheat seed but are unable to import wheat seed from the United States due to Karnal bunt restrictions imposed by the Government of Greece. Wheat seed imports by Greece are estimated to be about 46,000 metric tons annually and are subject to sampling and testing as required by the Ministry of Agriculture. Many farmers purchase wheat seed about every 3-4 years relying on saved seeds from previous harvests to produce wheat.
Mexico Publishes Regulations for Registering New Plant Varieties. On September 24, 1998, the Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development (SAGAR) announced the publication of the Regulation of the Federal Law of Plant Varieties. The regulation became effective on September 25, 1998, and governs the approval and registration process of new plant varieties in Mexico. The regulation also provides guidance on the rights of new plant variety developers. More information may be found on SAGARs home page located at the following Internet address: http://www.sagar.gob.mx and http://www.secofi.gob.mx. These web sites are mentioned for readers convenience but the USDA does not in any way endorse the information contained on the mentioned sites.
For more information on U.S. Planting Seed Trade you may contact Mark Rasmussen at (202) 720-9497
|Data in this report is available in both Adobe Acrobat and Lotus 123 formats. You may need to Get the Adobe Acrobat Reader.|
Planting Seed Exports July-Jun in Adobe PDF Format or Lotus 123
Planting Seed Imports July-May in Adobe PDF Format or Lotus 123