South America Update: Argentina Corn Production Could Surge and Brazil Impeaches Its President

September 1, 2016 06:00 AM

There's lots of news coming out of South America this week. Brazil impeached its president, Argentina's farmers opposed a bill that would make them pay Monsanto higher royalties on seed, and Argentina’s corn production was projected to surge.

1. Brazil’s first woman president, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached by the country’s Senate Wednesday on charges of manipulating the budget, according to news agency reports.

Her removal from office ended 13 years in power for the left-wing Workers Party. Interim Presiden Michel Temer, from the center-right  PMDB Party, will serve out the remainder of her term until 2018.

Sixty-one senators voted in favor of impeachment and 20 against, meeting the required two-thirds majority required to remove her from office.

 In a second vote, senators voted against a provision that would have banned Rouseff from holding public office for eight years.

Rousseff has said she will appeal the impeachment to Brazil’s Supreme Court. Temer reportedly was scheduled to embark on a series of international trips Wednesday, only hours after the vote, to attract investors.

2. Argentina’s soy farmers fear they will get shortchanged under a proposal they argue would favor U.S. agricultural company Monsanto by forcing to pay royalties on patented GMO seeds three times a year instead of once a year, according to Reuters.

Farmers in Argentina’s Pampas grain belt say they should have to pay only once, or maybe twice, for seeds containing Monsanto’s Intacta RR2 PRO technology.

The government will introduce a bill to Congress next month requiring farmers to pay royalties for the first three seasons of planting beans grown from original GMO seeds. The initiative would update the current Seed Law, approved in 1973.

The bill says that farmers will have to pay taxes if they wish to retain part of the harvest for themselves to use in the future. Small-and-medium-sized farmers would excluded from the law.

“That’s something we are not so willing to grant,” said Dardo Chiesa, president of Argentine Rural Confederation (CRA), one of the country’s main growers’ associations, Reuters reported

3. AgResource forecast a surge of 20 million more tons in Argentina's corn harvest, up to 39 to 40 million metric tons, from 27 million last year. The consulting firm also estimated a 6 million metric ton increase in Argentina’s 2016-17 wheat crop, up from  from 11 million metric tons.

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