(Adds quote form Monsanto executive)
BUENOS AIRES, June 23 (Reuters) - Argentina’s government will oversee the testing of soybean crops under a deal aimed at satisfying demands by U.S. seed company Monsanto that its genetically altered technology be protected, the nation’s agriculture minister said on Thursday.
Monsanto wanted export companies to inspect shipments as they do in neighboring Brazil but Argentine farmers opposed that system and clamored for government control.
“The (government‘s) National Seed Institute will work out agreements with public and private entities to carry out selective inspections to determine the legality of seeds,” Agriculture Minister Ricardo Buryaile said at a news conference.
Monsanto threatened to stop selling new soybean technologies in Argentina over the dispute.
Monsanto indicated it would look at the details of the new inspection system before making a decision on the introduction of new genetically modified technology, which farmers say they need to keep up with their international competitors.
“Conceptually, it is very positive that the seed institute strengthens its presence in the marketplace and oversees inspections on the part of the government,” Fernando Giannoni, Monsanto’s Latin America director of corporate affairs, told reporters after the ministry’s news conference.
“We still have not seen the resolution (outlining the new control system) and we have not seen the operating agreements,” he added.
Argentina is the world’s No. 3 soybean exporter and top supplier of soymeal livestock feed. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath and Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Bill Trott)