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7-Business: Indonesian GE farmers claim compensation from Monsanto



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TITLE:  Monsanto' Bt cotton growers demanding his master Rp 200 billion
        as compensation
SOURCE: BioTani Indonesia Foundation/PAN Indonesia, by V. T. Riza
        posted by The AgBioIndia Bulletin, http://www.agbioindia.org
DATE:   Apr 23, 2003

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Monsanto' Bt cotton growers demanding his master Rp 200 billion as
compensation

Around 24 farmers - popularly known as Monsanto-organised Bt cotton
growers - finally lodged complaint to the legal aid foundation chapter
South Sulawesi. As reported on Wednesday, they revealed Monsanto without
clear reason has discontinued supplying Bt cottonseeds since last March.
As result they have missed their planting season this year.

Farmers, as reported, in the last three years have no choice, except
suffering when the company increasing selling price of the transgenic
cotton seeds every planting season, while in contrast, buying price of
rough cotton become lower and lower.

August last year, a survey conducted by YPR, a local NGO in Bulukumba
shown harvested yield of Bt cotton cultivation has not achieved the
propaganda yield by the company. "Less a ton compared two tons," said
Aryadi a staff of YPR.

They claimed around six thousand growers with 3,000 hectares field have
cultivating Bt cotton. Therefore they demanding around Rp 200 billions (1
US$ = Rp 8,888.00) as compensation from Monsanto.

A public relation officer of the giant company was shocked, when
confirmed by Kompas news reporter, about the action taken by group of Bt
cotton growers. She revealed that the company had made prior announcement
on inability to continue supplying seeds to farmers. However she will
discuss this matter, immediately, to board of directors.

On Monday, governor of South Sulawesi province pointed out minister of
agriculture, as well as Monsanto have to responsible to situation face by
Bt cotton growers. Meanwhile legal aid foundation staff also said
similarly. Governor, however, suggests farmers convert their farm into
beans and/or soybean crop patterns.

On the other hand, around hundreds of extension workers for cocoa have
ready to assist Bt cotton growers converting their ex Bt cotton farm into
cocoa small scale plantation. They believe many farmers will also easily
convert since the farmers have not really felt into Bt cotton trap,
except those that have been promoting as successful Bt cotton growers
both by Monsanto and researchers-collaborator during the state
administrative court processing legal actions by NGOs coalition (2001).

A coordinator of PAN chapter North Sumatera (PAN SU) who has trained
around 400 the extension workers for enhancing quality of cacao
cultivation in three of five provinces in Sulawesi island, in the last
three years, confidently said such probability. By showing competitive
advantage between cacao and Bt cotton will encourage farmers soon
converting their farms. "I have identified some farmers have no problem
in conversion process, they are mostly quick learning," he said in PAN
Indonesia on Monday.

[ For more details write to Riza VT at BioTani Indonesia Foundation/PAN
Indonesia at biotani@rad.net.id]