Buenos Aires, January 9th. Yesterday, Tuesday 8th, news agency Reuters informed that Chinese government had green-lighted the imports on five GMO crops, two of them on soybean. Those are the Enlist soybean, developed by former Dow and MS Technology, currently owned by Corteva, and SYHT0H2, developed by Bayer and Syngenta, and currently in hands of German company BASF.
The first one confers to the crop tolerance to the 2-4D herbicide, moreover glyphosate and glufonisate. The other GMO gives tolerance to glufosinate and HPPD herbicides (isoxaflutole and mesiotrione).
Those crops were already released by Argentine authorities. In April 2015, the former Ministry of Agriculture approved the order number 98/2015 authorizing the production and commercialization of the seed and its products, but, at the same time, ordering that the company must refrain from marketing this soybean varieties until the corresponding import permits are obtained in China.
The same criterion was applied in the case of the SYHT0H2 event, when the Order Number 83/2017 was published in November 2017.
Now, this condition is met and seed companies are able to sell its seed in the Argentine market. But, will they do it?
Last year, the Parliament failed to update the old Plant Breeders Act, that since 1973 it regulates the breeders’ property rights. More than 60 percent of the soybean area in Argentina is planted with seed that doesn’t pay any royalty to the breeders.
Biotech companies like Monsanto avoided this situation implementing a DNA-checking in the point of sale of the grain with the goal to detect the illegal use of its technology, protected by patents.
Now, will BASF or Corteva use this method to release its technologies to Argentinean farmers or will they wait to a more restrictive law over the “farmer’s privilege”, that avoid to farmers save seed without paying royalties to the breeder?
For now, sources from both companies declines to do comments about this issue.