SnowBall archive


GE - latest from Brazil

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 23:42:47 -0300
From: (Martin Rickinger)
Subject: B-GE: news from Brazil

Monsanto has withdrawn yesterday its appeal with the gov't commission CTNBio
for planting rr-soy in Brazil this year. Very strange; as they had already
permission and had started planting rr soy in 3 states to produce enough
seeds to plant 2-4% of all soy in Brazil this year already transgenic.

This doesn't really mean that soy from Brazil this year will be GMO-free, as
several farmers have illegally planted rr-soy; but officially Brazil will be
GMO-free for at least one more year.


Monsanto Withdraws Soy Application

March 18, 1999

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - The Associated Press via NewsEdge Corporation :
Monsanto has withdrawn
an application to register its genetically modified soybeans as
intellectual property in Brazil,
agriculture officials said Wednesday.

The company called the move temporary, but the environmental group
Greenpeace said it was
prompted by weeks of protests by various groups, including a lawsuit aimed
at halting a license to
plant the ``Roundup Ready'' soybeans.

The soybeans are genetically altered to allow the application of Monsanto's
Roundup herbicides
without harming the crop. Monsanto had hoped to distribute seeds of the
genetically modified
soybeans in Brazil for planting by midyear and harvest in early 2000.

A spokesman for Monsanto, who declined to be identified, said the company
only withdrew the
intellectual property application in order to make revisions, and plans to
file a corrected version

With 160 million people, Brazil is a key part of Monsanto's plan to use
genetically engineered crops
around the world.

In September, Brazil's National Technical Commission for Biological Safety
approved Monsanto's
request to produce the soybean seeds. But the approval of the agriculture
ministry, and probably the
environmental ministry, will be needed before commercial production can begin.

[Copyright 1999, Associated Press]
Wednesday March 17, 5:40 pm Eastern Time

Monsanto says to sell Brazil transgenic soy in

SAO PAULO, March 17 (Reuters) - U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto
Co. (NYSE:MTC - news) should win legal approval in the next two to
three months to begin selling transgenic soybeans in Brazil, a top executive
at the local subsidiary said on Wednesday.

``We are expecting no surprises,'' said Rodrigo Lopes Almeida, corporate
affairs director at Monsanto do Brasil.

``We are finalizing the agronomic data and within one to two months (the
transgenic soybean) should be
registered...We should begin sales this year.''

Brazil broke its ban on transgenic crops last September when it approved
the safety of Monsanto's herbicide-resistant
Roundup Ready soybeans, legally allowing them to be treated like any other
crop in the registration process.

But attention surrounding the Roundup Ready soybeans' passage to
commercialization has been anything but

Environmental groups led by Greenpeace have opposed their sale on health
concerns as has the governor of the
country's major soybean producing state of Rio Grande do Sul.

That state, which hopes to sell to European consumers opposed to
transgenics, is expected to turn out 22 percent of
Brazil's 30.92 million tonne 1998/99 crop -- the world's largest behind the
United States.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace alleged in a press release Wednesday that Monsanto
had officially withdrawn its request to
commercialize Roundup Ready in Brazil -- a claim Almeida strongly denied.

``That is not true,'' Almeida said, adding it would be impossible to
withdraw a request that the company had not yet

He added, however, that the company had withdrawn its request for
protection of Roundup Ready under Brazil's
intellectual property rights registry. That request, he said, would be
resubmitted in upcoming months with additional
agronomic information.

Almeida said the move would not delay commercialization of Roundup Ready
soybeans, which the company has
estimated will cover half of the nearly 13 million hectares Brazilian
farmers dedicate to the crop within just three years.

``This was based on a misunderstanding of the legal process.'' he said.
``Everything is proceeding within the expected
time frame.''