Originally published August 6 2014
Monsanto is trying to force soybean companies to collect its royalties from farmers
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) No matter how much of the agricultural market share Monsanto captures -- by hook or by crook -- it is never enough. Now, the mega-agri giant is attempting to squeeze royalty payments out of farmers and others.
According to Reuters, U.S.-based Monsanto has arrived at an "impasse" with soybean buyers in Brazil "over royalty payments on a new seed technology" that the newswire service says could "complicate the country's sales of the upcoming oilseed crop."
The agri-giant has been fighting farmers for royalty payments for its seed technology in courts all over the world. Now, in Brazil, the company wants commodity trading firms to make sure that farmers cough up the "proper fees" for its new South American seed, Intacta RR 2 Pro. But those firms are reluctant to get caught up in the back-and-forth.
As reported by Reuters:
Brazil's Vegetable Oils Association (Abiove), which represents international soybean traders such as ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus, said members have been negotiating with Monsanto for six months.
Could affect buyers of Brazilian soy
"We can serve as monitors in this process, as Monsanto requests... but we cannot assume legal responsibility for the collection of royalties," Abiove President Carlo Lovatelli, told the newswire service.
In a recent statement, Monsanto said the company was confident that the best solution would be in the best interests of Brazilian soybean growers.
The biggest concern for those in the soy industry in Brazil, South America's largest country -- which exports half of its annual harvest -- is what could happen if questions arise over a royalty payment on a soy shipment that has already been sent, said Lovatelli.
"It would be like selling a complete car and then having the tire manufacturer come and complain about something to do with the rubber," he said.
Should the impasse continue, buyers might not be able to purchase soy from Brazilian farmers who planted Intacta, officials said. After the United States, Brazil is Monsanto's No. 1 soybean market and exporter.
Intacta, which is supposedly herbicide-resistant, may comprise one-quarter of the soybean crop that is to be planted in September; that compares with just 4 percent of the inaugural 2013/14 planting season. Farmers who have planted it have said the Intacta seed is resistant to the devastating Asian caterpillar, Helicoverpa armigera, which first appeared in Brazil a couple of years ago.
As Reuters further reported:
Farmers are already buying seeds for next year's crop. The U.S. Agriculture Department expects Brazil to produce a record 91 million tonnes of soybeans but has said the United States may replace Brazil as the top soybean exporter next season.
Just the beginning?
"Producers want certainty, in this time of seed buying, that they are not going to have problems when they deliver their soy six months from now," Lovatelli said.
Last year, Brazilian farmers dropped a long-running legal assault against Monsanto, deciding instead to accept the company's offer to decrease the price of Intacta seeds in exchange for ending the case over its old Roundup Ready seed technology.
"Earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Monsanto's biotech seed patents, dealing a blow to a group attempting to ward off the company's lawsuits against farmers," Reuters reported.
The group GM Watch sounded an ominous alarm.
"This story is a warning of things to come for any nation or industry that comes to depend on a highly consolidated industry selling patented technology, like the GMO seed giants," the group said.
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