Monsanto Company announced Monday a plan to deter unauthorized use of Bollgard cotton in Brazil - an issue that many U.S. growers say is an unfair competitive advantage on the global market. Working with cotton gins, the company will collect an indemnity for cotton that tests positive for the Bollgard insect-resistant cotton trait, starting with the 2006 harvest.
The aim is to protect Monsanto's intellectual property and encourage Brazilian farmers to purchase certified Bollgard seed. Brazil approved the technology in 2005, but authorized seed was not available in the country before planting. Some farmers planted unauthorized seed during the growing season.
Capturing the fee at the gin is not unlike Monsanto's first efforts with Roundup Ready soybean technology, where the company started collecting a fee from grain terminals found to have soybeans with the trait. The effort eventually moved down to farms where producers are now paying a tech fee.
Beginning next season, according to a Monsanto release, Brazilian cotton farmers will pay a tech fee when they buy certified Bollgard cottonseed and then can gin the cotton without paying the indemnity. The indemnity for farmers who do not buy seed licensed to contain the biotech trait will be higher than the tech fee. Payment of the indemnity is only a deterrent and does not license farmers to use the technology in the future.