News

US Court Orders Syngenta to Compensate Kansas Farmers

28.06.2017 -

A US federal jury in Kansas City, Kansas, has ordered Syngenta to pay $217.7 million in compensation to more than 7,000 of the state’s farmers over the Swiss group’s decision to commercialize two genetically modified strains of corn –  Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade – before they had been approved for import by China.

The Jun. 23 verdict was announced by lawyers acting for the farmers who blamed Syngenta for causing them catastrophic economic harm. Chinese authorities refused to accept US corn shipments in November 2013 after an unauthorized genetic trait was detected in imports of Agrisure Viptera. Syngenta had begun selling Agrisure Viptera in 2010, then followed with Agrisure Duracade in 2013.

With the loss of the key Chinese market, US corn prices plummeted, causing long-lasting financial damage to growers. The National Grain and Feed Association and other grain trade groups and experts estimate that US corn prices would have been between 11-20 cents per bushel higher if the trade disruption with China had not occurred. The farmers’ lawyers said nationwide losses to US corn growers were estimated to exceed $5 billion.

Syngenta made billions selling the insect-resistant genetically modified corn even though it knew these strains would hurt US farmers, the lawyers said. In order to convince corn farmers to buy these seeds, they said Syngenta reassured farmers that China would approve the products “within a matter of days.” However, China did not approve Agrisure Viptera until December 2014, and Agrisure Duracade is still not approved.

“The verdict is great news for corn farmers in Kansas and corn growers throughout the country who were seriously hurt by Syngenta’s actions. This is only the beginning. We look forward to pursuing justice for thousands more corn farmers in the months ahead,” the lawyers said.

The case is just the first of eight state class action lawsuits certified so far. The others involve corn producers in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. Numerous other state class action lawsuits are still awaiting certification.

Syngenta said it was disappointed with the verdict, which would only serve to deny American farmers access to future technologies even when they are fully approved in the US. The company added that it plans to appeal.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, nearly 90% of corn in the country is now genetically engineered.

Social Media

LinkedIn | Twitter

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Newsletter

We keep you posted - Subscribe to the CHEManager International newsletter here!

Social Media

LinkedIn | Twitter

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Newsletter

We keep you posted - Subscribe to the CHEManager International newsletter here!