SAO PAULO, 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 protection
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
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
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.