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2013 articles

Deal with Monsanto leaves Brazilian farmers in the dust

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Farmers lose reimbursement of illegally collected royalties, pay higher technology fees to Monsanto, and have to plant RR2 GM soy.

 

The Brazilian farmers' federation Famato has caved in to Monsanto, dropping its lawsuit against the company over its practice of illegally collecting royalties on its Roundup Ready (RR) soybean seeds since 2010. Under the terms of the deal,  the farmers give up their claim for reimbursement of the illegally collected royalties - a claim that could have cost Monsanto around 6.2 billion Euros - in return for a small discount on RR2 soybeans.

It seems from the article below that Monsanto won the agreement by playing on farmers' fears of being shut out from access to the company's much-hyped new GMO, RR2 Intacta soy.

Even the supposed discount is not what it seems. Our Brazilian sources tell us that Monsanto had already hiked its technology fee steeply, from 42 Real/hectare for RR1 to a massive 115 Reais/hectare for RR2. With the discount, the farmers will pay 96.50 Real/hectare - and are obliged to buy RR2.

So far from losing 6.2 billion Euros in value through recompensing farmers, the company has more than doubled its income from GM soy at the farmers' expense. And let's not forget, Monsanto had already been judged by the Brazilian courts to be acting illegally in collecting royalties after 2010.

The more information emerges about this deal, the more it looks as if Monsanto has trampled on Brazilian law and left the farmers to eat dust.
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Agreement puts an end to lawsuits against producers Monsanto
Economia Agronegócios (Brazil), 25 July 2013
http://g1.globo.com/economia/agronegocios/noticia/2013/07/acordo-poe-fim-acoes-judiciais-de-produtores-contra-monsanto.html
GMWatch translation of Portuguese original

* Famato and rural unions have reached an agreement with with the company
* Impacts the collection of royalties for transgenic soybeans

Famato, the Federation of Agriculture and Livestock in the state of Mato Grosso, and over 47 rural unions have disputed in court the collection of royalties for Monsanto's GM glyphosate-tolerant soy.

The lawsuit challenged the company's right to continue receiving payment from producers, since the technology patent expired in 2010.

With the agreement, farmers give up [their claim to] the money that has been paid [to Monsanto] in the past two seasons. In return, Monsanto offers a discount on the new soy [RR2] developed by the multinational. The producers, who spend 115 Brazilian Reais per hectare to use the technology, will have a discount of 18.50 per hectare in the purchase of seed. The discount will apply for the next four years.

For now, it is corn that is planted in the fields of [farmer] Jair Guariento in Primavera do Leste in southeastern Mato Grosso. The next summer harvest, he plans to plant 950 acres of transgenic soybeans. He estimates that his claim against Monsanto was worth around 30,000 Brazilian Reais [around 10,000 Euros], but says he prefers to give up the money in return for cheaper access to the new technology.

Monsanto says that any farmer who does not want to adhere to the agreement and who is interested in planting Intacta [RR2] soybeans will have to sign a license agreement and will not get the discount negotiated with the parties.