August 13, 2012 / 5:37 PM / 7 years ago

Argentina will approve new GM soy seeds this week

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Leading global soy supplier Argentina will approve Monsanto’s genetically modified Roundup Ready 2 soybean seeds this week in a bid to continue boosting crop production, a top government agricultural official said on Monday.

Argentina is the world’s No. 3 soybean exporter and the top supplier of soyoil and soymeal. It is also the leading global exporter of biodiesel, which is made from soyoil.

“Today I’ll be signing the government resolution to approve Roundup Ready 2 soy,” Agriculture Secretary Lorenzo Basso said.

The resolution will have to be published in the government’s official gazette to take effect, and Basso said this would happen in the week ahead.

Roundup Ready 2, developed by global seed giant Monsanto Co , is already being planted in Brazil, the world’s second-biggest soy producer.

Argentine farmers embraced the original Roundup Ready seeds in the 1990s, helping turn soy into the country’s top crop. But Monsanto never patented the technology in Argentina and it led a years-long legal battle to try to charge royalties.

Tensions have eased since then and earlier this month, a Monsanto executive in southern Latin America praised the government’s support for biotechnology and its “clear policies to protect intellectual property.”

Two weeks ago, Argentina approved the use of a new variety of GM corn developed by Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto.

A drought in the recently concluded 2011/12 crop year slashed soybean output to 40.1 million tonnes, far below the record 52.7 million tonnes produced in the 2009/10 season.

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