On 12 June, European Union (EU) environment ministers reached a majority agreement to allow member states to individually decide whether or not to grow genetically modified (GM) crops, after four years of discussion. Individual member states can now ban the cultivation of GM crops without the need to follow the lead of the EU.
Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Corp is investing US$64M to take an 80% stake in Olam International’s grain handling operations in Australia, signalling further expansion in grain storage and handling infrastructure, reported The Australian on 25 June.
Huntsman Corporation, USA and Asian agribusiness group Wilmar International announced on 10 April that Wilmar’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Wilmar Europe Holdings BV, had agreed to purchase Huntsman’s European commodity surfactants business for an undisclosed sum.
EurObserv’ER released in March the 2013 edition of its renewable energy report, which said that final energy consumption from renewable resources increased significantly in 2012, Ethanol Producer Magazine reports.
The European Commission (EC) has stated that it would consider investment aid in a new and existing capacity for food-based biofuel unjustified “in view of the overcapacity of the food-based biofuel market”. The view was expressed as part of new rules on public support for environmental protection and energy projects, which the EC adopted on 9 April.
Brazil’s second-largest sugar and ethanol producer, BioSev SA – controlled by French commodities trader Louis Dreyfus – announced in March it would pare back its investment plans to align itself with what it considers “a prolonged downward cycle… and depressed prices” in the sector, Reuters reports.
China’s biggest grains trader, Cofco Corp, announced in February it was buying a 51% stake in Dutch peer Nidera, in a deal that would give the world’s most populous country direct access to South American grain and oilseed supplies, Reuters reports.
US President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal released on 4 March calls for extending a tax credit for cellulosic biofuels and puts forward the idea of cutting billions in fossil fuel subsidies, Ethanol Producer Magazine reports.
In March, Syngenta AG said it had halted commercial sales in Canada of corn seed containing a new and controversial genetically modified (GM) trait because major importers had not approved the product, Reuters reports.