Brazil, October 29, 2003 -- CropChoice news--Chemical
News & Intelligence, 10/17/03: Monsanto
said Friday it will hold off on a $ 40m (Euro35m) Argentine
investment due to a "lack of a clear midterm strategy
in the country and lack of adequate intellectual property
A spokesperson for Monsanto Argentina told CNI today
that the company hopes to resume investing in Argentina,
but to do so it "needs fair conditions to compete
on an equal footing with the other players."
Monsanto has invested $ 185m in Argentina since 1998.
Of that total, $136m was used to build a new glyphosate
plant in Zarate, in the province of Buenos Aires. As
a result of the Argentine economic crisis, Monsanto's
revenues in Argentina fell by nearly 30% last year.
But, according to the company spokesperson, 2003 revenues
will show improvements and should reach $ 410m. While
Argentina is experiencing an agricultural boom, Monsanto
has said that the number of farmers buying certified
seeds has declined significantly in recent years, reducing
royalties paid to Monsanto.
For soy alone, the sale of certified seeds has declined
from 50% of soy seeds to 20%. According to the Monsanto
spokesperson, this situation prevents companies focused
on research and development such as Monsanto from investing
in new technology.
Monsanto also said that there is a bill in the Argentine
Congress that could help improve the situation. In addition,
the local seed industry, through the Argentine Association
for Seed Varieties Protection (ARPOV), is actively working
with the Argentine government to assure that growers
use certified seed and eliminate so-called "brown
bagging," the illegal sale of genetically modified
(GM) seeds that accounts for an estimated 60% of the
Roundup Ready soy planted in Argentina.
Monsanto is analysing the possibility of selling Roundup
Ready corn in Argentina as well. The company has completed
an environmental impact study and is waiting for Argentina's
Foreign Market Commission to analyse the commercial
impact of GM corn. Monsanto Argentina is a wholly-owned
subsidiary of St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto.