Argentine Farmers Head to Europe in Monsanto Fight
St. Louis Business Journal 28mar2005
[More on Monsanto]
A group of Argentine farmers plans to travel to the European Union next week to prevent Monsanto Co. from forcing them to pay royalties on its soybean seeds, according to published reports.
The farmers, backed by Greenpeace, say they are traveling to Europe to prevent the agricultural giant from using European courts to break Argentine laws, the reports said. They plan to tell the European Patent Office that because Monsanto doesn't have a patent on Roundup Ready soy in Argentina, it should not be able to collect royalties on soy imported into Europe from Argentina.
Earlier this month, the company's Argentine unit said it planned to charge $15 per ton on shipments of Roundup Ready soy from Argentina in countries where its seeds are patented. The company has patents on its Roundup Ready soy in five European countries, which together imported more than 9 million tons of Argentine soybean products last year.
Monsanto stopped selling the Roundup Ready soybean seeds in Argentina last year because it was unable to collect royalties and said the business was unprofitable. The company has been unable to obtain a patent on its soy, so most farmers use it without paying royalties.
Argentina is the world's third-largest soybean producer behind the United States and Brazil. An estimated 95 percent of the crop in Argentina is planted from genetically modified seeds, most of which are bought in the black market.
St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) develops insect- and herbicide-resistant crops and other agricultural products.
source: http://stlouis.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2005/03/28/daily46.html?t=printable 3apr2005