HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Places » International » Latin America (Group) » Dispute between Monsanto ...

Thu May 19, 2016, 01:40 PM

Dispute between Monsanto and Argentine farmers escalates. [View all]

Farmers in Argentina are locked in a fierce battle against the local branch of the St. Louis-based agroindustrial conglomerate Monsanto over the payment of royalties on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

The administration of President Mauricio Macri is accusing Monsanto of abusing its dominant market position and has moved to prevent it from using exporters as fiscal agents simply because they detect at least 10% of GMOs in the seeds they trade.

Private experts say that both sides’ claims of foul play are not totally groundless. Farmers claim, however, that the company continues to “punch below the belt.” They say that after having failed to get paid on the basis of the Seeds Law, Monsanto bypassed it and resorted to the Patents Law, something that they claim is illegal as by Argentine law patents cannot be applied to living organisms.

According to the experts, the government has proposed a new Seed Law to solve the dispute as the current one was introduced in 1976, when there were no GMOs; but Omar Príncipe, Chairman of the small farmers lobby FAA, insists that the law is not at fault. “Under that law Argentina more than doubled its soybean output and doubled that of maize over the past 15 years,” he told the Herald in an interview. “The problem is precisely that Monsanto is bypassing the Seeds Law and forcing farmers to pay on the basis of the Patents Law. It has signed contracts with all exporters and silo-owners, who were then pressured into becoming payment retention agents.”

Príncipe praised Agriculture Minister Ricardo Buryaile’s efforts in search of a solution to the dispute with Monsanto. He said that farmers are still waiting a response from the administration to anti-trust charges of 'abuse of dominant position' they filed last year against Monsanto before the Competition Defense Board. Príncipe said that Monsanto is the only seed company resorting to that practice in Argentina.

Arturo Navarro, former chairman of the CRA farming federation, and Fernando Vilella, Director of the University of Buenos Aires Agribusiness and Food Program, said that Monsanto is “an easy target as the bad guy in the movie” due to its having “overreached somewhat its efforts to get paid.” But both agree that Argentine farmers have a cultural tradition of dodging payment. “Monsanto’s claim is not totally groundless and it has even been accepted by some producers,” Navarro said. “Regrettably, someone at the company is interfering in grain commerce by blocking some shipments to Europe.”

Navarro and Vilella also agreed that the current Seed Law gives enough protection to small producers by allowing them to reuse GMO seeds they harvest, without having to pay for biotech improvements again. Argentine agriculture, Navarro, noted, is still mostly in the hands of large producers, with 80% of farm output coming from 20% of producers.

Asked about a Wall Street Journal report last week that Monsanto was considering pulling its biotech unit from Argentina, both Vilella and Navarro dismissed that as “just bravado amid the conflict.”

At: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/214389/spat-between-monsanto-farmers-escalates

8 replies, 879 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply Dispute between Monsanto and Argentine farmers escalates. [View all]
forest444 May 2016 OP
felix_numinous May 2016 #1
forest444 May 2016 #3
felix_numinous May 2016 #4
forest444 May 2016 #6
felix_numinous May 2016 #7
villager May 2016 #2
forest444 May 2016 #5
pansypoo53219 May 2016 #8