12 June 2003 15:30 [Source: ICIS news]
SAO PAULO (CNI)--US agribusiness giant Monsanto remains
optimistic as the debate begins in Brazil over approval of
genetically modified (GM) organisms, a Monsanto spokesperson told
The Brazilian subsidiary of the US-based agribusiness company has been waiting for a decision from the judiciary regarding the approval of GM soy for more than a year, but is hopeful that the process will move ahead because of recent moves taken by the government.
Brazil's government will begin discussing a new law that could free up GM products, specifically, Monsanto's Roundup Ready soy, Lucio Mocsanyi told CNI.
The first meeting of lawmakers is scheduled for today and the law should be ready to be presented to Congress by the end of July.
"The new administration has taken big steps and Monsanto has been impressed with the administration's speedy response to this issue," Mocsanyi added.
Earlier this year, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva issued a presidential decree that allowed production of GM soy through the end of the next planting season. This allowed planters who had illegally imported seeds from neighbouring Paraguay and Argentina to sell their soy legally.
Monsanto is in discussion with planters regarding the royalties that will be paid to Monsanto for the illegally planted seeds. The company estimates that 3.4m hectares of GM soy were planted illegally in Brazil last year. Payment will range from $15-66/hectare.
"The issue of royalties is close to being resolved," Mocsanyi added.
Earlier this week, the chairman of Monsanto's board of directors, Frank AtLee visited Brazil, and he met with Brazil's Development Minister Luiz Furlan to discuss the future of Brazilian agriculture.
Monsanto is awaiting a decision about GM soy to move ahead with a $250m (Euro213m) expansion in its Roundup Ready plant in Camacari, Bahia.
Monsanto's worldwide headquarters are located in St Louis, Missouri and the company's Brazilian headquarters are in Sao Paulo.
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