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2-Plants: Brazil to check planting of transgenic corn

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Brazil to check planting of transgenic corn
SOURCE: Gazeta Mercantil Online, Brazil, by Lucia Kassai
        posted by Checkbiotech, Switzerland
DATE:   6 Jan 2006

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Brazil to check planting of transgenic corn

The Brazilian government will inspect the illegal planting of genetically
modified corn in Rio Grande do Sul state during the course of all the
2005/06 crop, trying to block piracy, coming primarily from Argentina.

The decision was made after the discovery of a lot of genetically
modified grain in the state.

Food processing companies, like Sadia, already have been checking and
testing their corn purchases for at least the past tour years.

Until now, the only genetically modified crop with legal permission to be
planted in Brazil is soybeans. Other crops are still under analysis, like
corn and cotton.

The authorization is granted by the National Technical Committee on
Biossecurity (CTNBi0), the organ that regulates the theme.

"We are going to fiscalize the 2005/06 crop from planting to harvest,"
said Mauro Marques Ruggiro, chief of agricultural surveillance services
within the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (Mapa) in Rio
Grande do Sul state.

"We are making an effort so that the illegal planting of transgenic corn
does not reach the same proportions as pirate soybeans," he said.

In this Gase, the agronomic characteristics of corn favor the government,
because the corn grain cannot be re-utilized for seed. The grower must
buy new seed for each and every crop and, in the case of illegal
planting, this means that the farmer imports via the black market regularly.

"Due to these characteristics, the planting still is very limited. 1 do
not believe that the area planted with surpass 5% of the planting in Rio
Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina states, and 1 doubt that it will be more
expressive in other regions," said Anderson Galvao, counselor of the
Biotechnology Information Council (CIB).

Together, Gauchos and Catarinenses will plant 2.24 million hectares. The
illegal corn planting is concentrated in the varieties Bt (resistant to
lizards), Syngenta, and Roundup (resistant to herbicides), of Monsanto.

Syngenta did not say whether it plans to take some measure.

Meanwhile, Monsanto Argentina "manifests its total repudiation of the
illegal commerce of seeds, an activity that generates grave losses for
the seed industry," and it said that it will check the charge that the
contra-banded seeds have the logotype of one of its brands on the sack.

The food industry already has been working to prevent illegal planting
and realizing tests on cargoes of its own volition.

At Sadia, the tests are a demand of importers of chickens and swine, and
its obligatory nature is even included in contracts, said a press attach.


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