ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

1 November 2002


END GAME: Pharmacia took away Monsanto's profitable drug divsion, Monsanto's best selling herbicide has gone off-patent, the mass of loans Monsanto pushed onto Argentinian farmers to sell their GM seeds has ended up as bad debt... and all Monsanto's got left are GMOs!!!!!

"Monsanto has been seeking to shift its reliance from RoundUp, which has gone off-patent, by spending heavily on genetically modified traits, which accounts for the bulk of its research and development spend." (item 2)


1. Ex-biotech worker cool on GM products
2. Monsanto losses triple on drought in US


1. Ex-biotech worker cool on GM products

Thursday October 31, 2002 20021031p58
from The Western Producer website
By Karen Briere, Regina bureau

Farmers were never asked if they wanted genetically modified crops, yet the acreage is increasing at an alarming rate, says a university professor who used to work in the biotech industry.

Elizabeth Abergel, assistant professor of multidisciplinary studies at York University, said innovations came from labs staffed by people like her, who know nothing about farming work.

"We never asked farmers what they need," she said recently at the University of Regina. "We don't actually give them a choice."

But North American farmers planted millions of acres of GM crops this year, compared to none just six years ago, she said.

Abergel, who grew up in France, pointed to a report released by the British Soil Association in September, which said GM crops have been an economic disaster in the United States and Canada.

"It said North American farmers were not reaping the benefits of biotech and concluded that GM crops have been a practical and economic disaster," Abergel said.

The report said GM soybeans, corn and canola cost the U.S. economy $12 billion since 1999 in subsidies, lower prices, loss of exports and product recalls.

It also urged British farmers suffering from an economic crisis to not be tempted to seize new technology.

"GM was introduced to the U.S.A. when farmers were financially vulnerable," said the soil association's policy director, Peter Melchett, in a news release.

"The biotechnology industry's claims that their products would bring benefits were widely accepted, but GM crops have now proved to be a financial liability."

Abergel said farmers shouldn't be blamed for growing these crops. Canada's flexible regulatory system allows them to be fast-tracked to become commercially available.

"We don't know if they are safe environmentally," she said. "There is no transparency in our regulatory system at all."

Abergel said GM crops that ended up as food aid have been refused in some countries, even though agencies such as the World Health Organization have endorsed them as a way to feed the hungry.

She also decried the lack of independent scientists, saying unbiased information is unavailable.

"The ones that are daring to challenge the scientific basis on which these crops are approved are marginalized."

Abergel said there is too much evidence that GM crops are not the "messianic" crops they were purported to be.

Problems with herbicide resistance and segregation are occurring.

"Farmers and consumers have the burden of proof," she said. "Farmers are now held responsible for gene escapes -- genes that they did not want in their crops."


2. Monsanto losses triple on drought in US

Financial Times (London) October 31, 2002

Monsanto, the agrochemical group, yesterday reported  third-quarter sales had fallen almost a third and net  losses tripled to Dollars 165m as it continued to suffer  from the severe drought in the US and the slowdown in Latin  America. The net loss compared with Dollars 45m last year,  or, on a loss per share basis, 63 cents versus 17 cents a  share in 2001. Revenues for the period fell from Dollars  936m to Dollars 679m. The results were in line with a profit warning on October 11. The shares closed down 1 per cent at  Dollars 16.75 in early trading. Hugh Grant, chief operating  officer, said Monsanto would lose 4m-6m of RoundUp volumes  in the US, its main herbicide product, because of the  continued effect of dry weather. "US branded volumes for  the year will be at 37m-39m. The market is growing at a  slower rate than expected. Overall, we expect sales of 49m  gallon range, down from our 51m predictions."

 He also warned of pricing pressures, such as from  Syngenta, an agrochemical rival. Monsanto said it expected  the price of RoundUp at the end of the year would be down  about 7-8 per cent year-on-year. However, Mr Grant  suggested that pricing of RoundUp was getting tougher, with  price falls of 12-15 per cent. Sales of RoundUp and other  herbicides fell 43 per cent to Dollars 281m from Dollars  489m. Monsanto has been seeking to shift its reliance from  RoundUp, which has gone off-patent, by spending heavily on  genetically modified traits, which accounts for the bulk of  its research and development spend. Monsanto said it had  been focusing on improving cash generation and hoped to  generate Dollars 400m-Dollars 460m of free cashflow by the  end of 2002.

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