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9-Misc: Harvest International Indonesia denies role in Monsantoscandal



                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Harvest denies role in Monsanto scandal
SOURCE: The Jarkata Post, Indonesia, by Muninggar Sri Saraswati
        http://www.thejakartapost.com/yesterdaydetail.asp?fileid=20050114.A05
DATE:   14 Jan 2005

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Harvest denies role in Monsanto scandal

Harvest International Indonesia president director Harvey Goldstein
denied on Thursday that his company played any role in a bribery case
involving U.S.-based Monsanto Co. and Indonesian state officials.

After a meeting with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK),
Goldstein said the Jakarta business consulting firm had nothing to do
with the Monsanto bribery case.

"No, never ... Harvest has never been involved in corruption whatsoever,"
he told journalists after being questioned at the commission about the case.

Monsanto was found guilty by the U.S. Department of Justice in the
bribery case and agreed to pay a US$1 million penalty.

The company also agreed to pay another $500,000 to the U.S. Securities
and Exchange Commission for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,
when it bribed Indonesian government officials so as to allow it to
develop Genetically Modified (GM) crops in the country.

On Wednesday, former environment minister Nabiel Makarim admitted that
Monsanto lobbied him to facilitate its business in Indonesia, though the
ex-minister denied any wrongdoing.

Goldstein admitted that he knew both Nabiel and former agriculture
minister Bungaran Saragih personally, but he refused to comment when
asked whether Monsanto had paid consultation fees to Harvest
International in connection with the bribery case.

According to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission documents, Monsanto
admitted that it had retained a Jakarta-based consulting company to lobby
for legislation and ministerial decrees favorable to GM crops.

Monsanto said that it was a consultant with the consulting company who
lobbied and gave $50,000 to a senior official from the environment
ministry in 2001.

Separately, former agriculture minister Soleh Solahudin confirmed
Nabiel's confessions that Monsanto and its affiliate company PT Monagro
Kimia lobbied him to allow the cultivation of GM crops in Indonesia.

"Both Monsanto and Monagro Kimia representatives lobbied me several
times," he said after a separate meeting with KPK deputy chairman Amien
Sunaryadi.

Soleh said he met an official from Monsanto when he visited the company's
headquarters in San Louis at its invitation.

However, Soleh asserted that he had never issued any decrees allowing the
cultivation of GM crops when he served as agriculture minister from 1998
to 1999.

"I don't mean to blame anyone, but I never issued any decrees favorable
to GM crops," said Soleh, who is now a senior lecturer with the Bogor
Institute of Agriculture.

The KPK is scheduled to question another former environment minister,
Sonny Keraf, and former agriculture minister Bungaran Saragih, on Friday.

Representatives from Monagro Kimia, former Harvest vice president Michael
Villareal and environment minister Rachmat Witoelar are also expected to
face the KPK soon in relation to the matter.

The KPK said that it planned to set up a team to undertake further
investigations.

Monsanto has admitted that it spent more than $700,000 to bribe a senior
official of the environment ministry, a senior official of the
agriculture ministry, an official of the National Planning and
Development Agency (Bappenas), as well as 140 other bureaucrats between
1997 and 2002.


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Monsanto lobbied me: Nabiel
SOURCE: The Jarkata Post, Indonesia, by Muninggar Sri Saraswati
        http://www.thejakartapost.com/yesterdaydetail.asp?fileid=20050113.A04
DATE:   13 Jan 2005

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National News - January 13, 2005

Former state minister for environment Nabiel Makarim admitted on
Wednesday that U.S.-based Monsanto Co., one of the world's leading
developers of genetically modified (GM) crops, had lobbied him to
facilitate its business in Indonesia.

"There was lobbying, but it was in line with the law. It's something
common," Nabiel said after a meeting with the Corruption Eradication
Commission (KPK).

Monsanto agreed last week to pay a US$1 million penalty to the U.S.
Department of Justice, which charged the company with violating the U.S.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act when it bribed certain Indonesian
government officials to allow it to develop GM crops in this country. It
also agreed to pay another $500,000 to the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC).

Nabiel also admitted that he had a close relationship with Harvey
Goldstein, the president director of the Jakarta-based Harvest
International Indonesia business consulting company, which according to
KPK was hired by Monsanto to lobby the Indonesian government for
legislation and ministerial decrees supporting the development of GM crops.

However, Nabiel claims that he has no knowledge of Monsanto paying bribes
to employees of the environment ministry.

"No money was offered or requested (during the lobbying)," said Nabiel,
who was appointed as environment minister in 2001 by former president
Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas, a KPK deputy chairman, said that Nabiel came
to his office in his capacity as a former environment minister. As
minister he supposedly knew of the alleged bribery of a senior ministry
official by Monsanto that occurred in 2002.

"We have yet to investigate the case, but we are currently assessing
information. We consider the case serious as it must serve as a warning
to other publicly listed companies not to bribe state officials any
longer," he said.

The commission has met with Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono, who
has promised to assist in the investigation of the case.

In the near future, the commission is scheduled to meet Environment
Minister Rachmat Witoelar, former environment minister Sonny Keraf as
well as former agriculture ministers Bungaran Saragih and Soleh Solahudin
in relation to the investigation of the corruption case.

Erry also said that the commission will summon Goldstein of Harvest
International, Villareal and Monagro Kimia, an affiliate company of
Monsanto in Indonesia.

The KPK has already sent letters to the U.S. Department of Justice and
the SEC, respectively, seeking more information about the case.

Monsanto has admitted that it had spent more than $700,000 to bribe a
senior official in the environment ministry, a senior official in the
agriculture ministry, an official in the National Planning and
Development Board (Bappenas), as well as 140 other bureaucrats between
1997 and 2002.


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

TITLE:  resistance to gm seed imposition for the textile industry:
        the case of indonesian bt cotton
SOURCE: Friends of the Earth International
        by Wahle (Friends of the Earth Indonesia)
        Chaper 7 of fertile resistance in agrobiodiversity
        local communities defending agrobiodiversity against gmos and
        agrobusiness
        http://www.foei.org/publications/gmo/index.html
DATE:   Aug 2002

------------------- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/ -------------------


resistance to gm seed imposition for the textile industry: the case of
indonesian bt cotton


*****
"There are two possibilities for my cotton harvest: I will keep it until
it rots or I will burn it. Even though I might lose my production cost
and effort, I would rather do that than sell it to Monsanto."
Baco, a farmer in Manyampa village, South Sulawesi
*****


PT Monagro Kimia, an Indonesian subsidiary of the US-based agro-chemical
giant Monsanto, started variety trials in 1996 to find cotton varieties
to cultivate in Indonesia, in particular in South Sulawesi. In 1998, as
part of the regulatory process for the commercialization of genetically-
engineered crops, greenhouse and limited field trials were conducted. In
1999, Bt cotton was approved by the Indonesian government and declared as
environmentally safe for Indonesia. However, PT Monagro Kimia had been
distributing Bt cotton seeds since 1998.1

The company has been conducting genetically modified (GM) cotton field
trials since 2000 -- claimed to be 'the first GMO field trials' in
Indonesia. Estimates of the amount of land planted to Bt cotton in 2000
range from 500 to 1500 hectares.

On 15 March 2000, forty tons of GM cotton seeds arrived from South Africa
at Hasanuddin airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi. The seeds, imported by
PT Monagro Kimia, were trucked away under armed guard to be sold to
farmers in seven districts in the province.

Local NGO activists opposing the imports tried to keep the trucks from
leaving the airport. They said the seed should be quarantined for
detailed examination before distribution and accused the company of
attempting to disguise what they were doing by using trucks marked "rice
delivery". The NGOs also protested against the use of the Indonesian
military (in this case military police) to guard the trucks.2

In a letter to the Jakarta Post, Monsanto, the world's third biggest
biotechnology company involved in genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
and one of the three biggest seed and agro-chemical producers, said
Indonesian quarantine officials had carried out a pre-clearance
inspection in South Africa, and had complied with all procedures for
import and quarantine. Monsanto staff told the newspaper that the
imported seed was aimed at meeting the needs of the province's farmers.
"There are at least 400,000 hectares of cotton plantations to be
developed by the farmers here," said communications manager Tri
Soekirman. The company was taking precautionary measures and "people
should not worry about the negative impact of the crops." He said there
had been no complaints from the US, South Africa, China or Argentina,
where the GM cotton had already been grown, adding that Australia had
been growing GM cotton for five years.

The seed in question, developed by Monsanto, is known as NuCTN 35B, Bt.
DP 5690B or "Bollgard". "Bt" refers to the gene for an insect-killing
toxin isolated from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis and inserted
into the cotton seed. Indonesia is a major importer of cotton, a raw
material for its huge textile industry.


a government decree

The GM seed was delivered five weeks after the Minister of Agriculture
issued a decree (No. 107/2001) on 6 February 2001 permitting limited
sales of the cotton seed variety Bt DP 5690B as "quality seed" under the
trade name NuCOTN 35B (Bollgard), for cultivation in seven districts in
South Sulawesi --Takalar, Gowa, Bantaeng, Bulukumba, Bone, Soppeng and
Wajo. No restrictions were set on the amount of land that could be
cultivated with Bt. PT Monagro had already conducted field trials of GM
cotton over a 500-hectare area in Bantaeng and Bulukumba districts.
According to media and NGO reports, the harvested crop had already been
sold on local and foreign markets. The sales were apparently conducted as
if it were to be a perfectly standard crop. NGOs suggested that the
Ministry of Agriculture was merely seeking to legitimize past violations
by PT Monagro Kimia.3

The February decree was issued on the quiet, without public consultation.
Even other ministries appear to have been kept in the dark. Environment
Minister Sonny Keraf said the decree was "trade politics". An editorial
in the Jakarta Post characterized it as a sad case of "business interests
... prevail[ing] over environmental concerns".

An earlier agreement to permit the sale of GM cotton had been cancelled
by previous Economics Minister Rizal Ramli at the last minute in October
2000 after intense lobbying by NGOs and the intervention of Environment
Minister Sonny Keraf. This time, the Department of Agriculture avoided
opposition by not publicizing its intentions or informing anyone else in
advance.


ngos in court

In June, a coalition of Indonesian NGOs for Biosafety and Food Safety --
ICEL, Konphalindo, PAN, YKLI and YLK Sulawesi Selatan among them -- took
legal action against the decree. They sought, through the State
Administrative Court, an annulment of a February decree allowing the
limited release and sale of GM seeds in Sulawesi.

The NGOS claimed that the decree had been issued hastily, without
consideration of the consequences of using transgenic products and
violated Indonesia's environmental law (23/1997) because no environmental
impact assessment was conducted and because the public's right to
information and to be involved in decision-making was not upheld. The
decree allows for "limited" sales of the cotton, they pointed out, yet
there is no restriction on the area that can be planted within the seven
districts.

The NGOs are concerned that the decree will lead to one company holding
the monopoly over seed and inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides. It
could also undermine or destroy the achievements of existing people- and
environment-centred farming systems such as integrated pest management
and create a damaging technological dependency among farmers.

They also point out that Monsanto's GM cotton is not necessarily the best
seed type for cotton farmers as it does not deal with one of the main
cotton pests found in Sulawesi and will therefore still require large
amounts of pesticides. This had already become evident during the field
trials, when the GM cotton succumbed to drought and insect attack. The
seeds are over five times as expensive as the Kanesia 7 cotton seed,
developed by Indonesia's Bureau for the Study of Tobacco and Fibrous
Plants (Balittas), which, under IPM, achieves the same yield of 2-3 tons.
Many farmers in South Sulawesi want to buy Kanesia 7 cotton, but find
that only Monsanto's Bt cotton is available. This, argue the NGOs,
violates law No. 12/1992 on Plant Cultivation, which says farmers are
free to choose which crops they want to grow.

On 27 September 2001, the NGO coalition lost its case. The government
decided to extend the permit to PT Monagro Kimia to continue planting Bt
cotton in South Sulawesi in 2002 when the current permit expires.4 At the
beginning of September, the Agriculture Minister declared that Bt cotton
would be planted on a still larger scale, in East and Central Java5.


farmers protest against gmo

In April 2001, hundreds of farmers and NGO activists joined a
demonstration led by the Indonesian Federation of Peasants' Unions (FSPI)
to protest against GM crops. The protest was held outside the Department
of Agriculture, and then moved to PT Monagro's office. The farmers called
for the licensing of GM cotton to be withdrawn and for a boycott of GM
seeds and GM products. They also threatened to destroy any GM products
already distributed in the country. The protesters likened the
introduction of GM agriculture to the Green Revolution of the 1970s and
said it was another form of colonialism, which created new dependencies
between farmers and suppliers of agricultural inputs.6

As the Bt cotton has shown its vulnerability to drought and pest
infestations, many farmers have complained about claims of its
superiority. Some Bt cotton growers have revealed their yields to be only
around 500 kilograms per hectare, far lower than Monsanto's repeated
promises of three tons per hectare. Even the government has admitted that
more than 70 percent of all Bt croppings have failed to produce the
promised yields.7 There are also other complaints. One woman claimed that
she developed an itch lasting 10 days when cultivating Bt cotton. A
Department of Agriculture official has meanwhile blamed a group
protesting transgenics for introducing Spodoptera litura and S. empoasca
pests into Bt cotton fields.

During violent civil disobedience, farmers have demanded that the South
Sulawesi Governor explain why he allowed the province to become the trial
ground for a controversial and failure-prone technology.8 They have also
demanded that no more Bollgard cotton or other transgenic crops be
planted in South Sulawesi. In southeast South Sulawesi, in a traditional
ritual carried out by members of the community known as kajang, villagers
kitted out in black headbands and swords have demonstrated angrily,
saying "Go to Hell, Monsanto!" On Thursday, 13 September 2001, a banner
reading "Damn you Monsanto" was hoisted with several scarecrows, which
were then burnt in a cultivated Bt cotton area in Desa Bontobiraeng
village, Kecamatan Kajang, Bulukumba.

Around two tons of rough cotton were also burned by approximately a
hundred villagers. Subsequently, around 50 hectares of cultivated Bt
cotton was put to the torch. Judy Rahrdjo, a vice chair of the South
Sulawesi Indonesia Consumer organization reports that, in the coming
days, more cultivated areas of Bt cotton will be burned.

Downplaying the controversy, PT Monagro Kimia dismissed the arson as the
work of non-governmental groups acting on their irrational opposition to
genetically modified products and maintain the trials are a success.
Contradicting farmers' claims, the trials produced 1.5-3 tons per
hectare, up to four times that of regular varieties. They say farmers may
have failed to achieve the full four tons due to unsuitable topography,
porous soils and loss of fertilizer through leaching. Whatever the actual
yield, all sides agree it was lower than expected but Monsanto appears
confident of continued government support citing a promise of Minister
for Agriculture, Bungaran Saragih, to extend the current license for
field trials.


indonesian policy on gm products

In Indonesia, there is no national policy on GM products. The government
has not assessed which GM products can be introduced into the Indonesian
market. The ability to trace and control their distribution is also
questionable. So far the public has no information where GM products go,
who use them and what they are used for. At the moment, a Law on
Biosafety is being prepared, but in secret, and civil society
organizations have difficulties in following the process.

At the local level, the condition is even worse because of regional
autonomy, which has been in place since 1 January 2001. In the regional
autonomy regulations issued in May 2000 (No 25/2000), the only reference
to genetic engineering is in the section on investment (para 7, Clause 2,
Chapter II). This says that the central government retains the authority
to issue and control investment permits for "strategic technology"
companies whose "highly sophisticated" and "high-risk" applications
include weapons, nuclear technology and genetic engineering. Assuming
that GM seeds are included under "seeds and seedlings" or "agricultural
commodity varieties", the central government is responsible for
regulating their export and import and setting standards for their
release and withdrawal (Chapter II, Clause 2, para 3, 1(b)). However, it
remains to be seen how far district or provincial governments, who are
implementing regional autonomy to suit local agendas, will adhere to
these rules.

The Sulawesi Bt cotton case shows what advocates of the precautionary
approach are up against. In 2001, the total area planted to Bt cotton was
approximately 4400 hectares (involving approximately 6500 farmers).9 In
South Sulawesi, Bt cotton is being pushed by local government officials.
The Bupatis (district heads) of both districts in which Bt cotton trials
were conducted are keen to develop the crop further, believing that high
yields and extra profits will result. They, and government supporters of
GM crops, argue that there is no scientific reason why they should not
plant more.

As reported by NGOs, the Bupati of Bulukumba said he would "instruct" all
his colleagues down to village head level on the benefits of Bt cotton
for farmers. The head of the local plantations office said that the
people of Bulukumba should be proud because they were a priority Bt
cotton area and that extension workers should be reminded to recommend Bt
cotton, not Kanesia 7.

Although the transgenic cotton controversy is still blazing, PT Monsanto
has not hesitated to promote transgenic corn trials as well. This offer
to set up such trials was personally given by Director of PT Monsanto
Indonesia Kobus Burger and President Director PT Harvest Internasional
Indonesia Harvey Goldstein while meeting South Sulawesi Governor HZB
Palaguna in Makassar last March. Strictly speaking, however, this should
not be called an offer, since Monsanto already conducted transgenic corn
field trials secretly two years ago in Gowa and Takalar municipalities.

The arguments for transgenic corn are the same: it is "pest free and
environmentally friendly", uses "less pesticide", gives an "abundant
harvest", is "good for export" and, of course, "increases farmers'
welfare". The Governor appears minded to accept the offer, saying
"agricultural technology is unavoidable; besides, it is only for cattle
and not for human consumption".


This open-arm approach is a worrying signal that GM agriculture could
take hold quickly in Indonesia if decision-making is left in the hands of
Bupatis and local parliaments who may not know about the potential risks
of GMOs or who are susceptible to the sales talk of multinational biotech
companies. Bantaeng Bupati Azikin Solthan says he hopes that, under
regional autonomy, decision-making over GM crops will rest with local
governments. "If they really can increase the income of farmers and add
to local government revenues, why not?" he said.10

In fact the door to GM crops has been wide open for some time, with field
trials of GM crops starting in 1999 or earlier. Other crops under field
trials include Bt corn (maize), Roundup Ready Corn, RR cotton, RR Soybean
(all produced by Monsanto) and Bt potato (produced by three research
institutes including Michigan State University). According to ISAAA, the
industry-funded International Service for the Acquisition of Agro-biotech
Applications, Bt corn, RR soybean, corn and cotton are in the process of
being approved.11

Monsanto and others have been able to start trials and then sell the
product in Indonesia with relative ease because the legislation on
biosafety and food safety is weak. Under the government's biosafety
guidelines there is no need to issue any notification of field tests or
the release of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). A 1999 joint
ministerial decree on genetically-engineered products and food safety has
been criticized for not including labeling and environmental impact
assessment requirements. Former Environment Minister Sonny Keraf says his
office is giving priority to issuing a strengthened decree (due April or
May this year) but how far he will be able to tighten the rules is
questionable. Academics attached to the Indonesian Institute of Sciences
(LIPI) and other institutes have been arguing that Indonesia must enhance
its biotech industry if it is to compete with other countries in agribusiness.

Indonesian NGOs working on biosafety and GMOs are pushing their
government to take a more precautionary approach on GM crops. They say
they are not against GM crops as such, but oppose their introduction
without adequate government regulations. The NGOs have called for a
moratorium on testing or planting GM crops until adequate regulations to
safeguard the environment and farmers' interests are in place and until
the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (signed February 1999) has been
ratified by the Indonesian government. They also argue that the public
should be involved in decision-making on the issue. At present, there is
no transparency - NGO requests to gain access to safety reports on cotton
testing, for example, have been turned down.


references
 1 | Legal battle over biotech products kicks off, Jakarta Post,
     22 June 2001.
 2 |	"Kecaman terhadap pengiriman benih transgenik", NGO statement
     circulated via email by YLK Sulsel, 15 March 2001;
     Jakarta Post 17 March 2001.
 3 | Ibid.
 4 |	"Indonesian Govt to Extend Permit for GMO Cotton Planting",
     Dow Jones Newswire, 18 September 2001.
 5 |	"Buoyed Monsanto Says Cotton Project to Continue", Jakarta Post,
     21 September 2001.
 6 | Kompas, 17 April 2001.
 7 | Ibid.
 8 | Ibid
 9 | "Buoyed Monsanto says Cotton Project to Continue", Jakarta Post,
     21 September, 2001.
10 | http://dte.gn.apc.org/.




--


GENET
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
In den Steinäckern 13
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