Argentine farmers, who have been confronting the government over export duties since 2008, are accusing the local branch of agribusiness giant Monsanto of “abusing its dominant market position” to impose “private duties” via exporters to make producers pay for alleged transgenic seeds property rights.
Argentina’s four farm lobbies grouped in the liaison board argue that the local branch of of the St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto has signed confidential accords whereby exporters, acting as retention agents on its behalf, would charge producers an extra fee per ton of soybeans that tests positive for Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds. Jorge Solmi, the second vice-president of the FAA small-farm federation (one of the four lobbies protesting against the government for seven years now) estimated the extra fee at about US$15 per ton.
The Herald made several attempts to contact Monsanto — to no avail.
“We the producers acknowledge that seeds’ genetic technology and improvements must get a fair retribution but Monsanto’s attempt to charge for royalties is unacceptable and could set a precedent for other technology companies to adopt similar methods to get paid, using third parties not involved in the production process,” the liaison board said in a statement.
The SRA, another liaison board member, said that any payment for genetic technology must be included in the seeds price.
Argentina is one of the largest soy exporters in the world.
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