Upward trend for European soybean cultivation continues
Vienna. The first Donau Soja Market Report in 2024 predicts that the soybean cultivation area in Europe could increase by up to 10 percent this year to 5.6 million hectares. There are numerous drivers, such as the relatively high prices for soya, the increasing demand for plant proteins or policy incentives within the EU. Soya already experienced a record harvest in Europe in 2023, with an increase of almost 24% to 12.2 million tonnes compared to the previous year. In the EU alone, 3 million tonnes of soya were harvested in 2023, 740,000 tonnes more than in 2022, which is an increase of a third on the previous year. This trend is likely to continue in 2024 – subject to this year’s weather conditions. “The upward trend and the favourable forecast is a great opportunity for the food industry to switch to certified regional soya from Europe. The advantage for producers and consumers is that it is GMO-free and guarantees that certified European soya is deforestation-free and therefore also meets the criteria of the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR)”, says Donau Soja President Matthias Krön.
GMO-free soya comes mainly from Europe
The soya harvest began in Brazil in mid-January. In recent months, prices for GMO-free soya have been relatively low compared to genetically modified soya from Brazil. As a result, demand from conventionally producing companies for GMO-free soya was higher and companies that process GMO-free soya felt a shortage in the market. The supply of GMO-free soya in the EU shows some seasonal trend. Until April, demand can be met with GMO-free soya from the EU, Serbia and Ukraine. From May onwards, more GMO-free soya from the last harvest in Brazil will be used. However, Brazil as a whole produces less GMO-free soya than the EU. For 2024, the Brazilian GMO-free production is estimated at only around two to a maximum of 2.5 million tonnes. A total of more than 150 million tonnes of soya are produced in Brazil. The overwhelming majority of the Brazilian harvest is still genetically engineered soya.
Donau Soja is a pioneer against deforestation and for CO2 reduction
In the future, it will be important for the food industry that supply chains for soya meet the requirements of the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR). These should be completely deforestation-free from farm to fork. This regulation will come into force at the end of December 2024.The final criteria are currently being defined. The strict standards of Donau Soja/Europe Soya already meet the criteria of the EU Deforestation Regulation as far as they are known until now. Compared to Brazilian soya, the Donau Soja and Europe Soya certification achieve a reduction of up to 90% CO2, compared to non-certified soya from Europe a reduction of around 40% CO2.
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