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Long-term Agreements for Non-GM Corn Seed

Seikatsu Club Consumers' Co-operative Union Requests the Continuation of the Supply of Non-GM Corn after 2023 
Conclusion of Agreements for the Long-term Supply of U.S. Non-GM Corn Seed

On September 24 and 25, 2019 (local time), Seikatsu Club Consumers' Co-operative Union (Head Office: Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo; hereafter “Seikatsu Club”) witnessed the conclusion of two Long-Term Seed Supply Agreements by JA Zen-Noh (Japan’s National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations) with U.S. seed companies and a grain handling company in order to secure U.S. non-GM corn seed. The non-GM corn supplied under these agreements will be mainly used as feed for meat products provided by Seikatsu Club. Seikatsu Club worked hard for the conclusion of the agreements and was present as a witness to the signing of the agreements as a consumer of meat products.
The signatories to the two agreements concluded were:
1) Beck's Hybrids (Head Office: U.S.A., seed company); CGB Enterprises, Inc. (Head Office: U.S.A., grain handling company); JA Zennoh (witness), and
2) Pioneer Hi-Bred (Head Office: U.S.A., seed company); CGB Enterprises, Inc. (Head Office: U.S.A., grain handling company); JA Zennoh (witness).

The conclusion of these agreements facilitates the continuation of the development and supply of seeds to be used to produce feed for Seikatsu Club’s meat production for three to five years from 2023.

GM crops not only create seed monopolies but their impacts on the environment and future generations of people are not well understood. Seikatsu Club finds this unacceptable and operates on the basis of not handling GM food, additives, or feed for meat-producing livestock. In cases where the use of GMOs is unavoidable, we make a public disclosure of the information.

Japan relies heavily on imports for corn, which makes up the greater part of raw materials for feed. In the main exporting country, the U.S.A., the cultivated area of GM corn is increasing year by year, reaching 92% of the total area of corn cultivation in 2019.* Seikatsu Club encouraged U.S. seed companies, grain handlers and others to secure non-GM corn, and since 1998 has consistently provided meat products (chicken, pork and beef) raised on this feed for consumption by our members, strongly insisting that the feed be non-GMO. During that time, Seikatsu Club members have visited the corn-growing areas and have repeatedly expressed their desire to seed companies and producers to continue to use non-GM corn. 

While importing non-GM corn from the U.S., we have also promoted the use of feed rice to raise the level of domestic self-sufficiency of feed. We fully intend to continue to make efforts to secure safe feed in the future.

* From “Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.”, United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us.aspx)

Project Overview
1. In 1997, Seikatsu Club declared its “Basic Attitude on Genetic Engineering,” and also made the non-use of GM crops for feed the basis of its operations. By connecting with local producers, seed companies and other related organizations over a period of 20 years, we have constructed a non-GM corn importing mechanism that includes identity preservation during transportation and import.
2. Throughout this period, Seikatsu Club members, partner livestock producers and project staff have visited U.S. seed companies and producers for the main purpose of expressing our desire to continue to use non-GM corn.
3. In September 2019, Agreements for the Long-term Supply of U.S. Non-GM Corn Seed were concluded for seed development and supply.
4. Since some time is required for development and cultivation, the supply of seed that will be secured under these agreements will be produced from 2023 onwards, thereafter producing the livestock feed for three to five years.

 

Scenes from the signing ceremonies

 (Signing ceremony at Beck's Hybrids, Indiana)

From left to right: Ms. Noriko Miura of the Yokohama North Seikatsu Club, Mr. Trek Murray of Beck’s Hybrids and Mr. Eric Kresin of CGB Enterprises, Inc.

Statements at the signing ceremony (September 24, 2019, local time)

Ms. Noriko Miura of the Yokohama North Seikatsu Club
“The reason why the four of us are here today as representatives of the 400,000 Seikatsu Club members is to witness the signing of this important contract that will protect the right of consumers to choose products they are convinced are safe. While expressing our heartfelt thanks for this agreement, we pledge, through the consumption of the meat products, to eat this corn with the strong awareness that it is non-GM corn.”

Mr. Trek Murray of the seed company Beck’s Hybrids
“Along with the demand for non-GM corn, we are honored to have this strong message from everyone in the Seikatsu Club. We understand that this is an important activity for the members and their families. We will participate in this long-term seed supply agreement through a continued supply of non-GMO corn seed.”

(Signing ceremony at Pioneer Hi-bred, Illinois)
From left to right: Ms. Kazumi Kase of the Seikatsu Club Tokyo, Mr. Roger Theisen of Pioneer Hi-Bred and Mr. Eric Kresin of CGB Enterprises, Inc.

Statements at the signing ceremony (September 25, 2019, local time)

Ms. Kazumi Kase of the Seikatsu Club Tokyo
“The market for GM foods has been expanding steadily over the last 20 years or so. We have doubts about GM foods from concerns regarding health and the environment. We hope very much that the agreement to be signed today will be faithfully carried out and we wish to continue to take the responsibility to consume the products. I would like to bequeath to our children and grandchildren a future in which we have no regrets.” 

Mr. Roger Theisen of Pioneer Hi-Bred
“Thank you very much for coming to visit us again this year after also visiting us in 2018. We are delighted to be able to participate in one part of the efforts by everyone, including CGB Enterprises and JA Zen-Noh, and would like to go forward by providing options that meet with the wishes of Seikatsu Club and the farmers who will grow the corn from this seed.”

Published September 27, 2019

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