Monsanto, the GM giant, is an unexpected winner in the present BSE crisis currently engulfing the globe. The Europe-wide ban on feeding meat-and-bone meal to animals is leading to a huge increase in imported GM soya to take its place.

Soya, and imports of the beans, are expected to jump by about 3.5 million tons this year. The Agricultural Trade Supply Association has suggested the demand for GM soya has increased as all unmodified soya has been bought up to meet demand following previous GM concerns.

As GM soya prices have risen, Monsanto’s share price has leapt by 50 per cent over the past three-and-a-half months. Eighteen months ago, Deutsche Bank said that GMO stock would be “perceived as a pariah” and that GM soya could become an “earnings nightmare” for Monsanto.