GENET archive


6-Regulation: Monsanto encouraged by enactment of Brazilian biosafety law

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  Brazil Gets Set For New Genetically Modified Soybean Era
SOURCE: Dow Jones, USA, by Alastair Stewart
DATE:   30 Mar 2005

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Brazil Gets Set For New Genetically Modified Soybean Era

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--With a stroke of the pen, Brazil's President Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva last week ushered in the widespread use of
genetically modified crop technology across the country's massive soy belt.

And seed producers say the expansion could be much quicker than the
government has anticipated.

Agriculture Minister Roberto Rodrigues said he didn't expect a major
explosion in the use of official GMO soybean seeds in the 2005-06 crop
season (October- September), but industry leaders said companies have
been using a loophole in the law to multiply GMO seeds this season and
will have up to 4.5 million 50- kilogram bags of modified seeds ready for
next year.

"The industry estimates it could supply GMOs for up to 30% of the planted
area," said Iwao Miyamoto, president of the Brazilian Seed Producers
Association, or Abrasem, adding that many of the labels are ready.

Brazil is the world's second largest soybean producers, turning out
approximately 52 million metric tons this year after initial expectations
had put the crop as high as 65 million tons. It is also the last major
producer to approve legislation for the use of GMO seeds.

Now farmers in the south of the country will have access to certified GMO
soybean seeds, they will likely stop using the illicit seeds smuggled in
from Argentina, observers said.

"Farmers are aware of the diseases and problems these uncontrolled seeds
can cause and will want to use material with certificates to improve the
quality of the crop," said Flavio Franca Junior, soy analyst at the local
agricultural consultancy Safras e Mercado.

Over the last five years, increasing numbers of soybean producers were
using illicit seeds, leading the government to temporarily allow their
use and sale over the last two years.

As a result, some 21% to 26% of Brazil's crop was already genetically
modified in 2004-05, according to a survey by the local Celeres
agricultural consultancy.

Monsanto (MON) has been tight-lipped about its plans for the world's
biggest untapped market, but press reports indicated they have already
earmarked $20 billion to develop new varieties for Brazilian conditions.

Farmers can expect a 10% to 15% reduction in costs with the introduction
of certified varieties based on Monsanto's RoundUp Ready technology, said
the agriculture minister after the GMO bill was signed. These gains will
be extremely welcome at a time when costs are rising, said Carlos
Sperotto, president of the Agricultural Federation in the southern state
of Rio Grande do Sul, where up to 95% of the soybeans produced are GMO.

However, the immediate benefits may not be great, warned Abrasem's Miyamoto.

He explained the main benefit of GMO soybeans comes from less herbicides
and pesticides being needed. But much of the southern crop is already GMO
while the center-west crops already tend to be pretty clean, he said.

"The farmers in the south will be using much higher quality seeds next
year and this should help their yields," he added.

Soy production in the south of Brazil has been decimated by drought this
year. Miyamoto said certified seeds wouldn't have helped that situation.

                                  PART II
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TITLE:  Brazil's Lula Signs New Law to Legalize GMO Crops
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   29 Mar 2005

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Brazil's Lula Signs New Law to Legalize GMO Crops

BRASILIA - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday
signed into law a bill that legalizes genetically modified crops and
regulates the biotechnology sector including stem cell research, issues
that prompted heated debates among farmers, environmentalists, scientists
and religious groups. Under the new law, the government's biotechnology
regulator, called the CTNBio, will be able to authorize the sale and
research of new GMO products on the domestic market. If a ministry, such
as the environment ministry, objects to the CTNBio's decision it can
appeal to an 11 ministry panel which will review the objection and make
the final ruling. There is no time limit set for the panel to make a
ruling. The CTNBio will also have the power to wave requirements for
lengthy environmental impact studies for GMO products that have been
shown safe in other countries such as the United States, Argentina or
Europe. The law should be published in the Diario Oficial, or federal
register, on Monday.

                                  PART III
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Monsanto Encouraged By Enactment Of Brazilian Biosafety Law
SOURCE: Monsanto USA
DATE:   24 Mar 2005

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Monsanto Encouraged By Enactment Of Brazilian Biosafety Law

ST. LOUIS (March 24, 2005) - Today, Brazil's President Lula signed a
biosafety bill into law which establishes the regulatory process for the
approval of biotech crops. This step is another indication of the growing
acceptance of biotechnology around the world, said Brett Begemann,
Monsanto's Executive Vice President, International.

"The biosafety law demonstrates that Brazil is committed to a science-
based regulatory system," said Begemann. "This law, combined with a solid
demonstration for respecting intellectual property protection, would make
it possible for Monsanto to consider the introduction of new technology
into Brazil."

Begemann said that a working system that allows Monsanto to be
compensated for the use of its technology must be firmly established
before the company brings new products to Brazil. "Monsanto invests more
than $500 million dollars a year in the research and development of
technology that benefits growers," said Begemann. "We need to know that
we can protect this investment so we can continue to bring new products
to growers globally."

Monsanto has been working since 1997 for the right to legally
commercialize Roundup Ready soybeans in Brazil. The CTNBio regulatory
agency will continue to have the approval authority for research and
commercialization of biotech crops under the new law just enacted.

Grower adoption of agricultural biotechnology continues to grow. In 2004,
growers in 18 countries planted 200 million acres (81 million hectares)
of biotechnology crops, an increase of 20 percent over 2003.

Monsanto is a leading provider of technology-based solutions and
agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality.
For more information on Monsanto, see:

Note to editors: Roundup Ready is a trademark owned by Monsanto
Technology LLC.

                                  PART IV
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Brazil's farmers set sights on expansion
SOURCE: Delta Farm Press, USA, by Forrest Laws
DATE:   24 Mar 2005

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Column: Brazil's farmers set sights on expansion

A giant relief map of the state of Mato Grosso hangs in the airport in
Cuiaba, Brazil. It shows large tracts of land north of Cuiaba and between
Cuiaba and Mato Grosso So Sul that have been cleared for soybeans, cotton
and other crops.

But it also pictures vast areas of northern and eastern Mato Grosso that
have yet to be cleared, land covered with grasses and scrub trees that
grow to 10 or 12 feet in height because of the region's Cerrados or
savannah climate.

Visitors hear stories of Brazilian farmers hooking a chain between two
tractors and clearing land. When you drive past one of the few remaining
natural areas southeast of Cuiaba, it's easy to imagine farmers pulling
up trees one day and planting soybeans the next.

That's not the whole story. Until lime deposits were discovered in
central Brazil in the 1970s, few crops could be grown on the highly
acidic Cerrados soils. Farmers generally have to grow two years of upland
rice and apply generous amounts of phosphates and potash to make the land

The lime deposits and increasingly crowded conditions in southern Brazil
sparked a migration from the south into Mato Grosso, Goias and Minas
Gerais. That and soybean varieties specifically adapted for the tropical

The first soybeans were grown in Mato Grosso in 1978. Now Mato Grosso and
other center-west states account for 46 percent of Brazil's soybeans --
the "yellow gold" of the Cerrados, as some call it.

The Cerrados contains 520 million acres, about one-fourth of Brazil's
land mass. Of those, about 50 million acres are planted in row crops.
Agronomists estimate another 250 million acres could be used for modern
mechanized agriculture.

The state of Mato Grosso has become Brazil's largest producing soybean
state, growing about 13.3 million acres this season. Agronomists with
Foundation Mato Grosso, a private development organization, say farmers
hope to double that in the next five years.

Mato Grosso also produces 88 percent of Brazil's cotton. Growers hope to
expand cotton acres as well -- if, they say, the United States reduces its

Any animosity Brazilian farmers hold for their U.S. counterparts was not
evident on a recent trip to Mato Grosso. (At one stop, a Brazilian TV
reporter asked a Brazilian chemical company rep why the Brazilians were
helping a group of Valent USA technicians and customers learn to deal
with soybean rust.)

The biggest problem Brazilian farmers face -- other than the erosion in
the value of their currency -- is the transportation system. Most of the
soybeans and cotton grown in Mato Grosso have to be trucked 1,000 to
1,300 miles over two lane roads.

Mato Grosso's governor, Blairo Maggi, who happens to be the country's
largest soybean producer, is trying to remedy that. But, unlike its
farmers, government projects move slowly in Brazil. That may be U.S.
farmers' best hope for slowing the Brazilian juggernaut for now.

                                  PART V
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TITLE:  Brazil gov OKs 400,000 T GMO Argentine corn import
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   22 Mar 2005

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UPDATE 1-Brazil gov OKs 400,000 T GMO Argentine corn import
(Adds background, CTNBio to put off ruling on other GMOs)

SAO PAULO, Brazil, March 22 (Reuters) - Brazil's National Technical
Commission on Biosafety, known as CTNBio, said on Tuesday it had approved
a request by the poultry sector to import 400,000 tonnes of genetically
modified corn from Argentina for feed.

Brazil's northeast poultry industry requested a license to import
Argentine corn after drought in the main southern producing states pushed
up domestic prices, the Pernambuco State Poultry Association said on Monday.

Under current law, bioengineered corn imports are forbidden. A new
biosafety law, which should legalize such crops and foods in Brazil,
passed Congress recently but has not yet been signed into law by
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The state's poultry industry has in past years managed to import modified
corn from Argentina, which contains a gene from a bacteria that produces
a toxin against some pests, after securing special permission from a
regional court.

Last week, analysts Agroconsult estimated that Brazil could import 1.3
million tonnes of corn to meet domestic demand that is being driven by a
growing meat industry.

But Agriculture Minister Roberto Rodrigues told the local news agency
Agencia Estado over the weekend that Brazil could end up importing up to
5 million tonnes of corn this year.

In Tuesday's CTNBio meeting, the commission decided to put off any ruling
on whether to grant further commercial licenses to GMO crops seeking

Under consideration are various types of transgenic corns developed by
Bayer CropScience Ltda. -- controlled by the German chemicals group Bayer
AG, U.S. biotech seed producer Monsanto Co. and Swiss agrochemicals group
Syngenta AG; a type of GMO rice; and two types of biotech cotton
developed by Monsanto and Bayer.

Last week, the CTNBio approved Monsanto's Bollgard variety of biotech
cotton which is resistant to insects, the first time the commission had
cleared the way for the commercial sale of GMO cotton in the country.


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