No company will release new soybean technologies in this IPR framework

(Photo: Huergo addressing at the Don Mario’s annual soybean conference)

Buenos Aires, January 14th. In one of our latest articles, Waht will seed companies do? we asked ourselves if the biotechnological companies based in Argentina are willing to launch its soybean traits, after China green-lighted the imports of soybean with herbicide-resistance technologies owned by Corteva and Bayer.

During the weekend, the agronomist, journalist at Clarin Rural, and influential opinion leader, Hector Huergo, denies that both companies release its technologies in the current IPR local framework.

Presumably well informed by reliable sources, Mr. Huergo argues that “developers of GMO traits and other biotechnological tools will not release its products (in Argentina) until a new law that recognizes the plant breeder’s rights will be sanctioned”.

Many times, here in, we observed that most of the soybean seed used each season in the country doesn’t come from the formal market, i.e. paying royalties to plant breeders, but from the illegal market or from the wide and generous concept of “farmers’ privilege” that permits saving seed.

The journalist thinks that farmers in Brazil and the US now will take advantage over the Argentine ones because they were able to access to technologies that easing the control of glyphosate-resistant weeds, that local agriculturers not.

Mr. Huergo also criticized the Government decision to not release the HB4 wheat (drought-resistant), saying that is possible, like in the US, to manage a technology not approved in importers countries,  through a “close-looping” marketing system, guaranteed by a traceability scheme.

But, which is the problem now, if Mr. Huergo is right? Legislative Cambiemos coalition failed in to approve a new and more restrictive legal framework that guarantees to plant breeders the recovery of its intellectual property rights.

The Government had the first two years of its mandate to promote new legislation, but they didn’t. Just last year representatives from Cambiemos pushed a legislative project, that it didn’t treat by the Low House due to they didn’t joint a majority to pass the law to the Senate.

This year, the draft of the law should be treated in the Low House, and if it is approved, pass to the High Chamber to be discussed and eventually approved.

But this is an “electoral” year and all the cannons are targeted to renew the Presidential mandate. Low legislative activity is expected in order to enhance the presidential campaign. Furthermore, some provinces are disengaging its local elections from the national one and an endless political calendar is waiting for representatives and senators. Then, the chances of a new Plant Breeders Act are minimum this year; as Mr. Huergo says, a less competitive farmer is growing in Argentina.

Link to the Huergo’s editorial (in Spanish) editorial

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