May 21, 2015
Argentina's agriculture ministry is creating a registry that will track the amount of genetically modified soybean seeds harvested in their crackdown on the illegal resale of seeds developed by Monsanto, Reuters reports.
The ministry maintained its position that farmers should only have to pay Monsanto once, at the time of purchase, for the seeds, but the proposed registry aims to prevent farmers from selling the genetically modified seeds generated from their crops. Under the new registry, farmers will have to declare how much of the seeds they replant and how much are kept aside.
Monsanto has wanted farmers to pay a royalty if seeds carrying the company's Intacta technology were obtained from previous harvests.
The company also said that uncertified seeds are sold on the black market, depriving it of revenue, and it welcomed the government's recognition of the underground market for its seeds.
In April, soy export companies in Argentina began inspecting cargoes at the request of Monsanto, raising tensions with farmers who object to the company's demand for royalties.
Argentina's Agricultural Ministry has reiterated its opposition to such royalties: "There should not be two property right claims on the same benefit," agriculture minister Carlos Casamiquela said.
The Ministry added that a fund would be created "to finance the development of biotechnology in the country."
A source in the Ministry involved in the negotiations with Monsanto said the country's biggest producers would pay contributions to the fund, but did not say whether the money would ultimately end up with Monsanto.
The Ministry's statement said details would be published in the government's official bulletin in the coming days.