The announcement by US biotech giant Monsanto of its intent to charge royalties on Brazilian exports of its RoundUp Ready soybeans will not have a great impact on the illicit planting of the GM product next year, according to farm representatives and analysts.
“The exporters will pass on the cost to farmers. But they (producers) are keen to plant the stuff and tap the benefits. They have already paid inflated prices for smuggled GMO in the past,” one trader in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, where up to 80% of produce is genetically modified, was quoted by Dow Jones as saying.
Brazil, which is the world’s second largest soy producer, has banned the use of GM technology in agriculture. However, farmers are still planting pirated RoundUp Ready seed derived from smuggled Argentine produce.
Under a scheme announced last week, Monsanto will require exporters from Brazil to obtain licences for shipments containing its patented soybeans from July onwards. Exporters will also have to pay royalties from next year.
Brazil’s new government has said it will enforce the ban on GMOs next year and has plans to monitor deliveries at soybean crushers and exporters next year. The government allowed illegal GM soybeans to be sold this year because the soybeans were planted under the previous government.