Royalty dues

Published: Wednesday 15 March 2006

Biotech biggie Monsanto recently stopped a boatload of Argentine soya in Liverpool, England. Monsanto had earlier sued two importers of Argentine soymeal in Spain, seeking economic compensation and recognition of its patent rights for Roundup Ready soyabeans.

In June, 2005, the multinational also sued importers of Argentine soya in Denmark and the Netherlands to enforce patents for the same gene technology. Nearly all Argentine farmers use versions of this technology. Estimatedly, about 30 per cent of the country's farmers buy genetically modified seeds in the black market, avoiding royalty fees, selling their produce in Europe.

A government official said Argentina would keep working "to show that Monsanto does not have a legal basis for doing the things it does and that it is clearly harming our nation with its latest moves.

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