Monsanto in big trouble in Brazil

I wonder if the farmers will succeed, or if Monsanto will be able to make enough threats and/or buy out judges and others in power to stop the process...

Monday, 07 May 2012 17:06

NOTE: Monsanto could be ordered to pay back an estimated 6.2 billion Euros to Brazil's 5 million soya farmers. A judge in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has already ordered the suspension of the payment of royalties on Monsanto's GM seeds this year. And the verdict envisages backdating the reimbursement of royalties to the 2003/2004 season. If Monsanto ignores this judgement, the firm will incur a daily penalty of 400,000 Euros. Monsanto will appeal but an appeal brings the risk that this decision by a state tribunal could be extended nationwide.

Comment in English from Daniel Coelho Barbosa, an agribusiness analyst, below. Articles in French:
Monsanto (peut être) condamné à rembourser des milliards aux paysans brésiliens ...
BRESIL – La justice refuse à Monsanto le droit de prélever des royalties sur le soja OGM
par Christophe NOISETTE , avril 2012 http://www.infogm.org/spip.php?article5124
Court decision concerning Monsanto in Brazil: Grower associations win legal action against biotech giant … more
Daniel Coelho Barbosa
TraceConsult, April 2012

[Daniel Coelho Barbosa is an agribusiness analyst
working in Germany and Brazil]

(1) Brazil, Monsanto and a dispute over royalties worth 6.2 billion euros

On 4 April 2012, the courts of Brazil's southern‐most state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the
way of a preliminary injunction, suspended the collection of royalties on GMO soy seeds by Monsanto.

The ruling by Judge Giovanni Conti also provides for the reimbursement of license fees paid (so‐called royalties) since the harvest campaign 2003/2004, as the business practices of seed multinationals Monsanto violate the rules of the Brazilian Cultivars Act (No. 9.456/97).

According to Neri Perin, the attorney of the farmers associations of Passo Fundo, Santiago and Sertão, who filed a class action suit in 2009, the claim lodged may lead to an advantage for up to five million farmers in Brazil and could mean for them a reimbursement of about 6.2 billion euros.

The Brazilian soybean farmers question the regulations prohibiting them from withholding seed for a renewed planting (after a first planting for which they have paid royalties) and from giving or exchanging seed under public programs.

Monsanto has been accused of unlawful and abusive collection of royalties on seed and soybeans of the Roundup Ready (RR) cultivar. Until the ruling, royalties were required not only for the entire soybean crop, but also for soybean seed, that was retained from the previous harvest.  

The farmers recognize that Monsanto is entitled to royalties when they buy soybean seed, but they demand the right to plant again the GM soybean seed they purchased and to sell this production, as food or feed, without another payment of license fees.  

Subsequent joint plaintiffs have arisen: FETAG, the organization of farm workers from Rio Grande do Sul, and the farmers associations of the towns of Giruá and Arvorezinha...  

Daniel Coelho Barbosa
Agribusiness Analyst
e  ‐  daniel@biosocial.net  
t  ‐ +49 (163) 816 9221
© 2012 - Copyright by TraceConsult – All Rights Reserved.  Use of and quotations from the material are permitted with complete reference  (= TraceConsult – www.traceconsult.ch

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