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Brazilian Farmers Declare War on Monsanto

EXTRACT: When it arrives at the warehouses the grain is tested and identified as GMO or non-GMO. The problem occurs when, in many cases, conventional oleaginous seeds are contaminated and the growers end up having to pay royalties [to Monsanto] without having acquired any GMO seeds in the first place.
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War against Monsanto
Marcondes Maciel and Tania Rauber
Diario de Cuiaba [Brazil], 29 January 2010
http://www.diariodecuiaba.com.br

• In Cuiaba, Aprosoja is preparing a court action against Monsanto, and in Sinop, steps are being taken to follow suit

[English translation courtesy Cert ID Brazil and GM-free Ireland]

Growers in [the Brazilian State of] Mato Grosso have declared war against Monsanto, the multinational corporate owner of the GMO soya technology known as RR (Roundup Ready). After exhausting all attempts to engage the company in dialogue, the growers are now considering legal action. In Cuiaba, Aprosoja (the Association of Soya and Corn Producers Association of the State of Mato Grosso) is preparing a lawsuit. In Sinop (500km North of Cuiaba) the growers are looking to sue the company as well.

Aprosoya wants to determine if the [patent] royalty fee paid by the soya growers is actualy due. "We want to know what sort of patent is generating this type of fee, because depending on the type, the company does not have the right to charge us anything at all. We also need to know the patent's validity period," explains the President of Aprosoja, Mr. Glauber Silveira.

In Mato Grosso, growers increased the cultivated area of GMOs from 2.6 million hectares (2008/09 crop) to approximately 3 million hectares in this year's crop. The expansion of the area will increase Monsanto's profit from R$39 million (*15.2m) to R$45 million (*15.6m), an increase of 15.38%. According to calculations made by the producers, the fee Monanto charged for the use of its patent amounts to R$15.00 (*5.85) per hectare.

Aprosoja intends to issue a notification demanding that Monsanto provide proper justification regarding the royalty fees. "We have been informed that Monsanto is inducing the seed producers of Mato Grosso to provide only GMO seeds", denounces Mr. Silveira. In Mato Grosso the GMO plantation now occupies half of the entire cultivated area of soya, comprising about 6 million hectares.

SINOP - Following several meetings without any positive results, the Sinop Rural Union is also planning to sue Monsanto. Approximately 50% of the crop fields in the Northern Region of Mato Grosso are currently cultivated with GMO varieties. These differ from the conventional because of their resistance to herbicides containing glyphosate, used in desiccation before and after planting to eliminate all kinds of weeds.

This kind of resistance enables the growers to apply the herbicide on the soya only, thus reducing their production costs and the number of herbicide applications. But the sectors' questions concern the royalty fees imposed by Monsanto for their use of the seed.

The president of the Union, Mr. Antônio Galvan, explained that two collections are made: The first one being when the seed is bought (by bank order). "In January they charged R$0.45 per kilo of seed, which is equivalent to 30% of the price of each sack.

The main questioning lies on the second collection which is made when the product is leaving the fields. When it arrives at the warehouses the grain is tested and identified as GMO or non-GMO. The problem occurs when, in many cases, conventional oleaginous seeds are contaminated and the growers end up having to pay royalties without having acquired any GMO seeds in the first place.

This contamination occurs in the fields by means of pollination or at the time of planting, as well as at the time of stocking the harvest. "Cross pollination may take place if there's a field of GMO soya next to a Non-GMO one at flowering time. Contamination can also take place if the machines are not well cleaned at harvest time, and some GMO beans remain. In this way, they will be considered GMO when they are tested".


 

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