Argentine farmers have agreed to pay perpetual royalties when they replant genetically modified seeds made by companies like Monsanto Co, two industry groups told Reuters, a deal that could allow farmers access to the newest biotechnology.
Farmers’ group Argentine Rural Society and the Argentine Seed Producers’ Association representing companies confirmed the agreement. The farmers’ new willingness to pay corporations royalties indefinitely is a stark reversal in Argentina, the world’s top soymeal and No. 3 soy and corn exporter.
Argentina’s 1973 seed law allows farmers to use seeds generated from their harvests freely in later plantings, unlike their counterparts in the United States.
Their position spurred a bitter, years-long dispute with agribusiness companies and Monsanto in 2016 decided not to launch its new varieties of soybean seeds in Argentina.
Farmers and a group representing seed companies sent the agreement to the government in December, but the details were previously unreported.
The deal could pave the way for a new seed law and the arrival of better seed technology at a time South America is increasingly challenging the United States’ dominance over global foodstuffs trade.
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