Monsanto could pull biotech soybeans out of Argentina, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. Argentina is a major soybean exporter, and farmers there have long battled the company over seed royalties.
“We are doing a full review of our business plan there,” Michael Frank, chief commercial officer for Monsanto, said at a recent investor conference, the WSJ reports.
In a company statement, Monsanto said it has been in ongoing discussions with Argentina President Mauricio Macri’s administration and industry representatives regarding soybean royalties in the country, which has been a challenging area for Monsanto.
According to the WSJ,
"The government there permitted farmers to save soybeans grown from Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” seeds, which allow the plants to withstand the company’s trademark herbicide, and replant them, which led to widespread bootlegging. Monsanto has said it doesn’t expect to collect royalty fees on those seeds.
Monsanto aims for a different outcome with its new soybean seeds, called Intacta RR2, which the company says allow soybean plants to withstand worms as well as Roundup, and yield four bushels per acre more than Monsanto’s older soybean version."
“The soybean technology royalty system is in place to ensure recognition of Monsanto intellectual property rights and was designed within the framework of Argentine law and International Treaties,” the company said in its statement. “Monsanto will enforce its private contract and intellectual property rights both inside and outside Argentina.”
The current system provides some flexibility in payment timing to Argentine farmers who use the Intacta soybeans; Monsanto said it will continue with that existing royalty system for now, pending its discussions with the government.