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The Mato Grosso branch of Aprosoja, the association representing the growers that filed the lawsuit at a federal court on Wednesday, claimed “the patent does not fully reveal the invention so as to allow, at the end of the exclusivity period, any person can freely have access to it.” That requirement “avoids that a company controls a technology for an undetermined period of time,” Aprosoja said, adding Intacta’s patent protection extends through October 2022. Monsanto said it has not been formally notified of the lawsuit and therefore would not make a statement. Mato Grosso farmers are leading a push in Brazil to replace genetically modified soybeans with non-GM seeds. “Aprosoja is not against innovation or paying for intellectual property,” its head Endrigo Dalcin said, but added that farmers should not have to pay for technology that is protected by what it claims to be an invalid patent. With about 53 percent of Brazil’s soy area planted with Intacta technology in the 2016/17 crop cycle, Monsanto is a dominant force, Aprosoja says, citing data from consultancy Agroconsult. Some 40 percent of the country’s area is grown with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seed technology and only 7 percent is non-GM, the data showed. This is the second time Mato Grosso farmers have challenged Monsanto in Brazil, its most important market outside the United States. In 2012, Aprosoja claimed Monsanto was charging royalties over a patent that had expired two years prior. By 2013, after legal disputes, Monsanto had stopped collecting royalties linked to its first-generation Roundup Ready technology, Intacta’s predecessor, according to Aprosoja. At that point, some farmers agreed to a discount rate on using Monsanto’s newer Intacta seeds for four years, it said. Monsanto, which is being acquired by Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE), is also facing close scrutiny from regulators concerning that deal. As one condition for approval in Brazil, Aprosoja’s national branch is seeking to persuade local competition watchdog Cade to force the biotech company to sell its Intacta soy seed technology. Biotech crops are genetically engineered to resist pests or disease, tolerate drought or withstand weedkillers such as glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

November 10, 2017

November, 8 2017 (Reuters)

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Police seized more than 12 tons of cocaine from Colombia’s top crime gang on Wednesday, the biggest haul ever in the nation’s long-running fight against drug trafficking, President Juan Manuel Santos said.

The cocaine, with a U.S. market value estimated by Santos at about of $360 million, was found stored underground on four farms in a banana-growing region of northwest Antioquia province, near Colombia’s border with Panama.

“Thanks to a police operation with overseas intelligence, from friendly countries, the largest seizure in history was made,” Santos said at a police base where the cocaine was laid out in packages on display.

Santos linked the cocaine to the drug-trafficking gang known as the Gulf Clan, which has become one of the biggest threats to security since peace was signed last year with Marxist-led Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.

The seizure comes as the United States, Colombia’s staunchest ally in the fight against drug trafficking, has raised concern over an increase in coca cultivation and as the government faces criticism from opposition lawmakers for allowing new crime gangs to fill the void left by the FARC.

Santos, who leaves office next year, has pledged to send 80,000 military and police to areas once controlled by the FARC in a bid to prevent new trafficking gangs from taking hold.

Four people were arrested during the three-day operation leading to the drug seizure, according to a police statement.

The Gulf Clan is led by fugitive Dairo Antonio Usuga, known as Otoniel. The United States has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his capture or death.

In addition to drugs, the gang deals in illegal mining and most if its estimated 1,500 members formerly served in the ranks of right-wing paramilitary groups.

Colombia is one of the world’s leading producers of cocaine, with output of around 910 tons per year, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Anti-drug police have confiscated 362 tons of cocaine this year.

2017-11-10T20:19:03+00:00