SANTIAGO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Argentine biotechnology company Bioceres SA said on Tuesday that Paraguay, the fourth largest exporter of soy, had approved a soybean seed resistant to drought and "HB4" herbicides, adding the South American nation to a growing list of countries authorizing it.
The variety, developed by Bioceres and U.S.-based Arcadia Biosciences Inc through joint venture Verdeca, has already been approved by the United States, Brasil and Argentina, the world´s three top soy exporters.
"Seen from the standpoint of market opportunity, this not only adds more than 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres), but also helps us in development efforts for southern Brazil, where production conditions are generally similar," said Bioceres CEO Federico Trucco in a statement.
The company said China, the world's leading importer of soybeans, continues to evaluate the approval of the "HB4" variety. Bioceres said it expects a decision by the end of 2020.
"A green light from the Chinese is a necessary condition for the sale of the variety in Argentina", he added.
The U.S., Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay together are responsible for 93% of the 149.7 million tons of soybeans to be exported in the 2019/20 harvests, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
China is a key market for the top four exporters. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath, Writing by Marina Lammertyn and Dave Sherwood Editing by Marguerita Choy)