Monsanto-Argentina Seed Pact Said to Become Effective Next Week

  • Country’s seed institute to approve methodology for GMO tests
  • Resolution to be enacted June 21, government officials say

Monsanto Co. and Argentina’s government have reached a final accord on soybean seed royalty payments, according to three government officials with knowledge of the situation.

A resolution written by the Argentine government seed commission in conjunction with the St. Louis-based seed producer’s legal advisers will be sent Tuesday for approval to the Argentine Seed Institute. Once it is approved, it will be enacted June 21, according to the officials, who asked not to be named because the agreement hasn’t yet been announced.

Two weeks ago Monsanto agreed to give the Argentine Seed Institute, also known by its Spanish acronym Inase, full control to oversee the detection of crops grown illicitly from its Intacta genetically modified soybean seeds. This represents a cultural shift for farmers in the world’s third-largest soybean grower who generally avoid paying royalties by using GMO seeds from previous harvests or purchased from non-registered suppliers.

Under terms of the final accord, Inase will delegate testing to several grain exchanges because it lacks resources to fund the labs, the officials said. The exchanges will be allowed to seek private financing. About 6 million sample tests will be needed to analyze the origin of this season’s Argentine soybean crop, which is forecast at 56 million metric tons, according to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange.

Farmers whose soybeans test positive for GMOs will be contacted by Inase. In the event farmers dispute the test results, a Polymerase Chain Reaction test, providing the DNA sequence of the seed, may be applied.

“We are still in talks for a resolution, hoping to seal a final deal soon,” Monsanto spokeswoman Victoria Manny said in a phone interview from Buenos Aires. She declined to comment on the timing for the resolution enactment.

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