September 17, 2003

 

 

Brazil Soy Growers To Pay Royalties

 

Monsanto Co. has urged Brazil's southern soybean farmers to pay royalties for the future use of its Roundup Ready (RR) soy technology, even though it may still be banned in Brazil.

 

On Tuesday, the company ran a notice in newspapers in Brazil's south, where most of Brazil's illegal genetically modified soy is believed to be planted.

 

The company in Brazil has declined comment on the notice.

 

"Independent of the process of lifting of the ban, producers that should plant Roundup Ready Soy ought to consider paying for the use of the technology at the time of sale of the production (soy)," the notice read.

 

About a third of Brazil's total soy crop is illegal GM, but in the southernmost soy state of Rio Grande do Sul, transgenic soy is estimated at 70 percent of state output.

 

Monsanto earlier this year had tried unsuccessfully to get local producers to pay royalties for the use of transgenic RR soy, which allows farmers to save money by using less herbicide to keep their crops weed-free.

 

The company had also unsuccessfully tried to get cooperatives and exporters to pass on the royalty costs at the time of purchase of GM soy from producers.

 

Brazil is the world's No. 2 soy producer and exporter and should overtake the United States as top grower in about six years.

 

U.S. soy producers complain that Brazilian growers have an unfair advantage because they don't pay royalties on the GM technology.

 

Seeds for Brazil's black market GM soy cultivation are believed to be smuggled in from Argentina where RR soy is widely planted.