China has approved the import and use of Argentine biotechnology firm Bioceres Crop Solutions’s drought-resistant soyabean strain.

Bioceres said in a 29 April statement that China’s Agriculture Ministry had approved the import and use as a raw material of soyabeans produced using its drought tolerance technology HB4.

According to a Bloomberg report, HB4 is the first drought-resistant soyabean available to farmers and the endorsement from the world’s largest consumer of soyabeans paves its way for entry into a key market.

HB4 had already been approved for growth and commercialisation in Brazil, Canada, Paraguay and the USA, while Argentina had authorised the HB4 strain only for growth and consumption in 2015.

“HB4 Soy is now approved for unrestricted growth and commercialisation in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, all together representing roughly 85% of the global soybean trade,” Bioceres said.

“Before, there was a commercial risk that maybe the product would be rejected in China,” Bioceres CEO Federico Trucco. “Now, the approval allows the sale process to escalate.”

Bioceres sees a total potential market for HB4 of 20M-25M ha in Argentina, Brazil and the USA, mostly in areas more affected by weather extremes, such as La Niña in Argentina and Brazil’s south, Bloomberg wrote.