1. Aprosoja's worried About China RR2 imbroglio
2. Brazil soy group warns farmers against seed
NOTE: Europe has approved Monsanto's new stacked trait GM soy, RR2 Intacta, for import into the EU – but China hasn't. Monsanto has been giving out Intacta seeds to Brazilian farmers to plant – along with a waiver (item 1 below) that the farmers have to sign, accepting legal liability for damages arising from contamination!
But as China is Brazil's biggest customer for its soy exports and may reject shipments contaminated with this soy, Monsanto's promotion of Intacta seems premature.
Unless, that is, Monsanto is following its time-honoured tactic of "contaminate prior to approval so that governments have to approve it", which worked so well in getting Brazil growing its GM soy in the first place.
In which case, Monsanto's actions are perfectly logical.
Now, in a gesture that might be interpreted as theatrical, Monsanto has said it will destroy 600,000 sixty-kilo bags of Intacta soybean seeds that it had intended to offer to Brazilian farmers (article in Portuguese):
Meanwhile, the Mato Grosso Soybean and Corn Producers Association (APROSOJA) has taken on the role of watchdog over Brazilian farmers' interests, pleading with them not to plant Intacta soybeans unless and until they are approved in China (items 1 and 2 below).
1. Aprosoja's Worried About China RR2 Imbroglio
DTN Progressive Farmer
4 Sept 2012
Wind the clock back eight years and Brazil's soybean industry was collectively tearing its hair out after China turned away a series of its soy cargoes due to fungicide contamination.
At first came the indignation. Brazilian exporters complained the claims were bogus, a ruse to return unwanted beans. Then came the wider realization that they would have to suck it up as Brazil now depended on China for soy sales in the same way the Middle Kingdom depended on it for supplies.
Fast-forward to the present day and the relationship between Brazilian farmers and Chinese crushers is much better, but the specter of Chinese rejection is once again worrying people here.
In a statement released Monday, the Mato Grosso Soybean and Corn Producers Association (APROSOJA) implored farmers not to plant Monsanto's new soybeans Intacta RR2 Pro in the upcoming 2012-13 season for fear that they will contaminate shipments to China, causing authorities there to once again return them. Brazil has approved the new pest-resistant seeds for planting but China hasn't approved them for consumption.
Monsanto hasn't launched the seeds commercially in Brazil but it did run tests at 500 properties last year and has committed to expand the testing this year. APROSOJA's big problem is with the size of that expansion. According to Carlos Favaro, APROSOJAs president, the concern is that Monsanto will look to plant increase 'test area' from around 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) last season to as much as 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) next year, effectively rolling out the seeds on the local market unofficially.
Contractually, farmers who participated in the tests are obliged to destroy the RR2 Pro beans after harvest. But APROSOJA is worried that, in practice, Monsanto is promoting the sale of RR2 Pro beans.
"Even with all the control and monitoring mechanisms proposed by Monsanto, we still see an enormous risk that the Intacta RR2 Pro variety of soybean seeds will be introduced on the Brazilian market," said the APROSOJA statement.
According to APROSOJA, the Brazilian Vegetable Oils Industry Association (ABIOVE) is also concerned exporters won't have the means to spot contamination, especially since a record crop is expected and infrastructure will be stretched to the limit.
What makes this so risky for farmers, according to APROSOJA, is that in order to plant the RR2 Pro, they must sign a contract that puts all responsibility for subsequent contamination of on the producer.
So, in theory, if a cargo is rejected in China, the farmer is liable for costs and damages that could ruin him or her.
As such, APROSOJA recommends that producers take no risks and don't take part in this year's tests of RR2 Pro.
Monsanto have yet to react to the statement, merely reconfirming that they plan to expand testing in 2012-13.
2. Brazil Soy Group Warns Farmers Against Monsanto Seed
Dow Jones Newswires
4 Sept 2012
The grains producers' association in Brazil's top soybean-growing state, Mato Grosso, warned farmers this week not to plant a new variety of transgenic soy it says Monsanto Co. (MON) has been distributing.
The soybean variety, Intacta RR2 Pro, hasn't been approved in China, where more than two-thirds of Brazil's exports of the oilseed are shipped. Mato Grosso state soybean and corn producers' association Aprosoja said in a statement Monday that farmers using Intacta RR2 seeds could accidentally contaminate shipments of approved soybean varieties, putting exports to China at risk of being refused.
Monsanto responded Tuesday, saying the company hasn't allowed commercial sales of Intacta RR2 in Brazil and won't do so until all of the country's main export markets approve it. A stockpile of 600,000 sacks of the seeds, which Monsanto had produced based on the belief that China could approve Intacta RR2 "at any time," will be destroyed, the firm added.
Aprosoja said Monsanto had been handing out samples of the new seeds to farmers in Mato Grosso and required them to sign a waiver accepting responsibility for any contamination that occurred.
"It's like they're testing it, but with no controls," an Aprosoja official said.
Last year, Monsanto invited 500 Brazilian farmers in 10 states to plant Intacta RR2 alongside fields sown with the company's Roundup Ready soy, an herbicide-resistant variety that is commonly used in Brazil. The fields were closely monitored, and the soybeans produced using Intacta RR2 were subsequently destroyed.
Monsanto said it plans to carry out another round of demonstrations this year.
Intacta RR2 soybean seeds use so-called "stacked" genes that make the plants resistant to insects as well as herbicides.
Transgenic seeds will account for 88% of Brazil's 2013 soybean crop, according to a recent estimate by local grains consultancy Celeres. Most of the transgenic soy currently planted in Brazil resists only herbicides.
Brazil, the U.S. and the European Union, among other countries, already have approved Intacta RR2 for use. But the enormous importance of China to Brazil's soybean-exporting industry–and the ease with which contamination can occur while soybeans are being stored or transported–means Brazilian farmers should refrain from trying the new strain, Aprosoja said.
"All Brazilian producers still have bitter memories of the enormous crisis in prices caused by Chinese refusal of various Brazilian soy shipments in 2004," the association said.
Brazil next year likely will harvest a record soybean crop that could push it ahead of the U.S. as the world's top soybean producer, analysts say. Farmers will begin planting as early as September.
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