Oct 17, 2014 2:00 PM GMT-0300

Monsanto Co. (MON), the world’s largest seed company, is planning to restrict sales of its herbicides in Argentina to certified buyers in a bid to reduce incidents of incorrect spraying that pose health risks.

The St Louis, Missouri-based company is working to create a register of herbicide users, Fernando Giannoni, director of corporate affairs for southern Latin America, said in an interview yesterday in Buenos Aires.
“We hope in the future to only sell our product to certified appliers,” Giannoni said. “Of course we don’t recommend that it’s applied near urban populations, nor schools or rivers. I don’t rule out that in the future we could sue farmers that apply our product incorrectly.”
He denied a report by Argentina’s National University of Rio Cuarto in Cordoba that links glyphosate, used in Monsanto’s weed killers, with cancer and blamed any side effects on farmers misusing the chemical. Giannoni said that while he hasn’t seen the Rio Cuarto paper, other reports have always ended up being disproved when sent up for peer review by the international scientific community.
Monsanto will seek to work with provinces or the national government to establish norms for the application of herbicides, Giannoni said. Argentina accounted for 7.5 percent of Monsanto’s sales last year, up from 5.9 percent in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“What’s happening is that there’s 5 percent of people that are using our product irresponsibly and this causes damage that applies to all farmers,” Giannoni said. “As an industry we need to close ranks so that everyone applies the product responsibly and expose those who don’t.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Charlie Devereux in Buenos Aires at cdevereux3@bloomberg.net; Pablo Gonzalez in Buenos Aires at pgonzalez49@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net; Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net Jim Efstathiou Jr.