Argentine farmers urge gov't to clinch GMO deal with Monsanto
By Hugh Bronstein
BUENOS AIRES May 18 (Reuters) - Argentine soy growers urged the country's government on Wednesday to strike a deal with Monsanto Co, a day after the U.S. seed company suspended the launch of a new variety of soybean seed that would help ensure the country's international competitiveness.
Virtually all the soy grown in the South American grains powerhouse is based on genetically modified (GMO) seeds. Since the start of harvest in March, Monsanto and the Argentine government have been at loggerheads over the best way to inspect soy cargoes to ensure royalties are paid on Monsanto's Intacta beans.
The government says Monsanto has yet to submit a proposal for an inspection system. The company says it is waiting for the government to outline its inspection requirements.
The conflict is playing out six months into the government of Mauricio Macri, who won the presidency on promises of freeing the economy from years of heavy-handed trade and currency controls.
The dispute escalated on Tuesday when Monsanto said it would not sell its newest soy technology, known as Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, in Argentina, a move that could limit output of the country's main cash crop. Argentina is the world's No. 3 soybean exporter and No. 1 supplier of soymeal livestock feed.
"The government needs to strike a deal, because not having Xtend is going to be terrible for the country," said Ruben Sgalippa, owner of a family farm in the bread basket province of Buenos Aires. "If it costs a lot it costs a lot, but this kind of technology is what we need to keep innovating and growing."
Monsanto has agreements with export companies and other grains handlers to inspect export cargos.
But farmers and the government both object to private sector actors playing such an enforcement role. Continuación...