On Monday Syngenta filed a suit in U.S. District Court against Bunge North America claiming they are attempting to block the legal merchandising of the Agrisure Viptera trait that was launched in compliance with all U.S. regulatory requirements. Syngenta President David Morgan says that Bunge's announcement mid-season that they would not accept grain enhanced by the Agrisure Viptera trait places a burden on farmers that planted it and that when a product has been legally approved, growers should be able to use that technology without subsequently being subjected to arbitrary actions.
Bunge has issued a statement expressing their surprise and disappointment at Syngenta's allegations and action, and claims that the Agrisure Viptera trait could put China, a major export market for U.S. corn producers at risk.
"Bunge is a strong proponent of agricultural biotechnology and the benefits it offers to the entire value chain. We have communicated to Syngenta on several occasions that Bunge looks forward to accepting Agrisure Viptera once approval from China is secured," Bunge North America President and CEO Soren Schroder said. "However, until this approval occurs, we must protect the integrity of our export supply chain by not accepting Agrisure Viptera and other varieties that do not have major export market approval. Our obligation to our farmer customers is to provide access to the global marketplace and the price benefits of that access. Syngenta's decision to commercialize Agrisure Viptera should not foreclose our ability to sell to a major market, China."
Schroder says that the decision to wait until Chinese approval of Agrisure Viptera, which is expected in early 2012, before accepting corn that contains the trait is consistent with policy of the North American Export Grain Association. NAEGA advocates that before seed sales occur technology providers should receive all major international approvals for a trait.