1.Monsanto to get royalties for contamination
2.It pays to grow non-GM crops

EXCERPT: The question is all about Monsanto's attempt of charge royalties over its GMO "Roundup Ready" soybeans [in Brazil]

"The limit to be tolerated as accidental contamination is of 2% of a soybean cargo", Rita Froes explains. "Above this limit, royalties will be charged over the whole lot." (item 1)

Australia's Network of Concerned Farmers' note: Although commercial release has not yet been approved by State government, in Australia, Monsanto is proposing an "end-point-royalty" for their Roundup Ready canola.

If their Roundup Ready gene is detected in the seed delivered to the receival point, they can deduct their "user fee" from the non-GM farmers payments for our crop.

This is a blank cheque to Monsanto as their test can detect contamination to 0.5% and contamination will not be able to be avoided (particularly as farmers are supposed to tolerate 0.5% contamination in our non-GM seed).

1.Producers must segregate to avoid unnecessary royalties
Source: Agrenco News
Date: Jul 01, 2005
Source: Trace Consult

Producers that are thinking in planting GMO soybeans in the next crop especially those interested in keeping part of its lands seeded with conventional beans must take good care of contamination, because any negligence will result in unnecessary losses, according to Rita Froes, general manager of IQS-Genlab.

The question is all about Monsanto's attempt of charge royalties over its GMO "Roundup Ready" soybeans. The value accorded with cooperatives and agricultural federations in Brazil's South Region is of 1% of sales price, and a 2% has been negotiated for 2005-06 crop.

"The limit to be tolerated as accidental contamination is of 2% of a soybean cargo", Rita Froes explains. "Above this limit, royalties will be charged over the whole lot."

This means that a producer who plants 20% of his land with GMO varieties just to test its performance may be obliged to pay royalties also over the other 80% planted with regular beans, if he does not provide proper segregation.

Rita Froes warns that the care to avoid contamination of the conventional soybeans by GMO beans may begin in the planting period and must be taken ahead till harvest time. "Producers can not finish to harvest an area planted with GMO soybeans and proceed harvesting other area planted with conventional beans without cleaning machines first", she says.

Segregation also does not end at this point, it must go on during storage, transport and export.

Contact of Rita Froes: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2.It pays to grow non-GM crops
Monday, 11 July , 2005

Dan Heffelmire, President of H&B Specialities Inc that deals with food quality grain products, is one who personally has no problems with genetically modified (GM) food. But when it comes to business, his problems have only increased with more farmers in the US taking to cultivation of GM crops.

"Our problems have increased with the rise in GM crops. We export corn grown traditionally to Japan and South Korea. Both these countries do not accept GM crops. As a result, we are now left doing more paperwork to ensure that our products are accepted by our buyers," Heffelmire told a group of visiting journalists.

The paperwork for those exporting corn or soyabean to countries such as the European Union, Japan and Korea begin from the farmgate.

First, the farmer has to sign papers saying the crop has not been contaminated with any GM material.

Then, the silo owner who buys the crop has to give a similar undertaking before the shipper gives his.

"We also have to carefully agree on our contracts. We sign in a way that says these crops will conform to norms at the delivery point. The buyers too come here to check before taking delivery," says a corn exporter.

The delivery point means the place where the crop is filled in a barge that is sent by river to the nearest port, which in case of places such as Bloomington could be some 750 km away.

The barges are tightly sealed and secured from being contaminated by any foreign material.

The additional paperwork pays since the importers are willing to pay some premium for ensuring GM-free products.

Corn bought by Japan and Korea is converted into snacks, while it is also used for making starch.

"This sort of check and balance has helped in ensuring that our consignments have less contamination. Though our contracts allow for about five per cent contamination and trash, the level of foreign material in our shipments has come down to around one per cent," the exporter says.

On the farmers' side, firms such as H&B Specialities have to ensure that the crop is properly insured from contamination by GM crops. "We ensure that there is a proper refuge area or buffer area," Heffelmire said.

Corn growers are asked to have a refuge area of 20 per cent. This means towards the end of the area where corn is sown, it is mandatory for farmers to grow 20 per cent non-GM crop at the end of the farm to ensure that neighbouring farms are not affected due to pollination of GM crops.

"We have to keep an eye at every stage to ensure that the shipments to our consumers conform to the stipulated norms," said Heffelmire.

"But we get a premium ranging between 5 and 25 per cent for the products and growers also benefit from this," he said.

Another exporter said corn traders in the US were now confident of exporting to the EU.

"We can meet even a lower level of contamination/trash. But the problem is that the EU buyers demand that these conditions be met at the point of delivery, which we are sceptical of," he said.

The problem is because the trash/contamination level could differ from what it is at the point of loading and point of delivery. "It could be higher at the delivery port for no fault of ours," he added.

But exporters, experts and growers agree that growing a traditional or GM crop variety depends on what is economically beneficial to farmers.