Ireland’s faces grain shortage as future imports in limbo

The European Commission has failed to approve any GMO dossiers for the import of feed stuffs this year, leaving the import of grain and maize in limbo.

Industry sources say that, as a consequence, Europe’s  internal market will suffer as the international trade becomes frustrated waiting for a single signature to legalise their imports. In a few months’ time there may be a shortage of soya and maize by-products, if the imports cannot go ahead.

Last year, Ireland imported 1m tonnes of protein, with maize supplies now primarily coming from the Ukraine instead of the US. At the moment, eight maize and soya dossiers are in question at EU level, which is essentially a trade barrier to US corn imports coming into Europe.

Some eight dossiers are waiting approval, but sources say that the EU system is failing to complete its task of approving dossiers in a timely fashion.

Presently there are eight dossiers still waiting for a single signature to provide final legal certainty for the trade and farmers in Ireland. However, it remains unclear as to whether that decision will be made this month. If the dossiers are not signed this month, it will be September, at the earliest, that their approval can be completed.

Deirdre Webb, Director of the Irish Grain and Feed Association said that at a recent international meeting, the Brazilian authorities raised the question about the final approval of their own soybean, which is destined for their markets but submitted to the EU in order not to disrupt  trade. ” The answer from the Commission was non-committal and does not leave one much hope for the internal feed industry requests for assistance.  At the end of the day it appears the EU Commission is out of step with the rest of the world on this issue and is certainly not accountable to the farmers who end up bearing the ultimate cost.”