When trolls do fight
When Trolls Do Fight
Comment from Dr Ignacio Chapela
A brief note to make sure you did not miss the news from the American corn belt, where two clumsy trolls are engaged in a slow-motion battle, one that we should have seen a long time ago bring down the ag biotech pretense of a business.
What hundreds of farmers have not been allowed to do on the basis of logical and reasonable doubt over GMO plants is being done now, through brute force but out of public sight, by a global corporation. Trust one troll to chase the other: Bunge, the massive seed corporation, refused this year to accept or move seeds from Syngenta's new variety, curiously named "Viptera", based on their recognition that it is impossible to segregate or otherwise control the movement of Syngenta's promiscuous DNA.
A superficial account can be found here [Bloomberg: Syngenta Loses Court Ruling Against Bunge Unit Over Modified Corn Lawsuit], including the useful quote from the court when siding with Bunge:
"Bunge's decision to reject Viptera corn at all of its locations was a legitimate and reasonable business decision,"
And just to re-state what many farmers know from bitter experience, the court adds that agreeing to receive the questioned seed
"...would impose prodigious costs on Bunge for a situation that Bunge did not create."
Adding interest to the case, farmers are incensed by Syngenta's behaviour because the company went around giving away seed of the Viptera corn varieties across the corn belt as a marketing campaign, knowing that the seed was not approved in all international markets. Farmers planted the seed and now find themselves with many problems to identify, segregate and store or destroy their harvest. When driving up to their elevator or mill, they find the following note:
'Please note that Bunge currently is unable to accept delivery of the following seed product for the 2010 growing season:
This seed has not received necessary approval from Japan or Korea, major export destinations for the U.S. All Bunge facilities are integrated into the export market, which is why the terms of Bunge's purchase contract states that Bunge will not accept grains or oilseeds containing transgenic events not approved for U.S. export markets.'
Irony is to be found throughout this story, not least in the fact that the reason why so many farmers are now facing useless truckloads of grain is precisely that the Syngenta seed was "properly" managed by the US regulatory agencies, the obvious consequence of the fallacious concept of 'substantial equivalence' (yes, believe it or not, it still is US central policy). In a more technical account filed here [AgFax.com: Bunge and Continental Grain Refuse Syngenta Agrisure Viptera Hybrids], we read:
'Nathan Fields, director of biotechnology and economic analysis for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), told DTN that Syngenta was in compliance with the biotech industry and all commercialization policies prior to the product's full commercial launch. "From our perspective, they launched the product in good faith."'
Gnashing of bones and crashing of skulls – makes me wonder once again: whose idea was this, after all?