Argentine Farmers Say Monsanto Soy Contracts Break Local Law
On April 15 Argentine farm groups requested that soy exporters stop inspecting soy cargoes on behalf of U.S. seed company, Monsanto for the presence of its Intacta biotechnology.
Argentina’s farmers signed agreements with Monsanto that included the inspection of soybean shipments designed to ensure that the company received all due royalties from beans grown using its Intacta technology. Under these contracts, even if farmers use saved seeds from a prior Intacta soybean harvest, they are bound to pay royalties on the resulting crop.
In their latest move in the long standing conflict with Monsanto, Argentina’s top farm groups including the Argentine Rural Confederation CRA) and Rural Society (SRA), who feel that it is unfair to have to pay royalties on a crop produced from bean grown on their own farms, are countering that the inspections are in defiance of the country’s legal system, and that only the state has the ability to inspect shipments.
Pablo Vaquero, vice president of Monsanto Argentina, says that the company is trying to work with the country’s growers, stating to Reuters, "In no way is the control system oriented toward charging all royalties on the beans. To the contrary. What we want is for farmers to pay under preferential conditions."
Argentina’s agriculture ministry forecasts a 2014/15 soybean crop of 58 million tons for the country which is the world’s top soymeal exporter, while the Rosario grains exchange raised its estimate by 1 million tons on April 15 from 58 to 59 million tons, citing positive production conditions.