Monsanto touts Brazil royalty deal, some farmers resist

The company is accused of continuing to charge royalties after the patent on its RR soybeans expired in 2010

Monsanto Co. and Brazil’s National Confederation of Agriculture (CNA) said they had reached an agreement with local farmers to end a dispute over royalty payments on seed technology.

But key producing groups in top soybean-growing state Mato Grosso, that are fighting Monsanto in local courts, said they did not accept the agreement.

Producers in 10 states, not including Mato Grosso, accepted Monsanto’s proposal in exchange for the “permanent and irrevocable” suspension of royalties charged on Roundup Ready soybeans, starting with the current 2012-13 harvest, according to a statement from the CNA released Jan. 23.

On its website, St. Louis-based Monsanto said farmers participating in the agreement would not have to pay royalties for this and next season and in return would secure licences to purchase new soybean technology, known as Intacta RR2 Pro.

Monsanto did not immediately respond to the request for comment.

Farmer associations Aprosoja and Famato in Mato Grosso issued a joint statement saying they rejected the agreement and would continue to pursue legal action against Monsanto.

Monsanto could eventually face losses if it is made to return royalties it charged farmers after 2010, when the groups say Monsanto’s patent on Roundup Ready expired in Brazil.

Biotechnology has helped Brazil’s corn and soybean crops grow in recent years and now accounts for almost 90 per cent of all soybeans planted as Brazil aims to surpass the United States as the world’s top grower of the oilseed.

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