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Is Monsanto preparing the final landing on seeds in Latin America?

Is Monsanto preparing the final landing on seeds in Latin America?


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By GRAIN

Faced with a future outlook that is increasingly hostile to GMOs, with peasant organizations that denounce the extremely serious damage that 10 years of GMOs have produced in the fields and peasant seeds, and with informed consumers who reject them, Monsanto's option It seems to be raising the stakes to try to continue the invasion with the same mechanisms that it has used in the last decade.


During the last two months, the Latin American press has been inundated with news about Monsanto's new offensive in several Latin American countries, in what appears to be one more attempt to complete the invasion of transgenics throughout the continent and to break the resistance that they arise from their attempts to control and dominate agriculture.

This time, the axis on which the multinational has been moving quickly and agilely is in the elaboration of agreements with governments and some farmers' organizations that have willingly agreed to follow the steps set by the largest GM manufacturer in the world.

Faced with a future outlook that is increasingly hostile to GMOs, with peasant organizations that denounce the extremely serious damage that 10 years of GMOs have produced in the fields and peasant seeds, and with informed consumers who reject them, Monsanto's option it seems to be raising the stakes to try to continue the invasion with the same mechanisms that it has used in the last decade. In this way, the contamination of new territories with GMOs, the modification of laws at the pleasure and pleasure of the corporation, the pressure to collect royalties and the imposition of GMOs through fait accompli will continue to set a course that has clear accomplices and executors.

Let's see an overview of the different local scenarios and the concrete events that have taken place in recent weeks.

- In Chile, on March 26, Monsanto and the Ministry of Agriculture announced that Monsanto has chosen Chile to plant up to 20,000 hectares of transgenic soy for seed production. Monsanto also indicates its intention to introduce transgenic corn and rapeseed into Chile. According to an interview published in El Mercurio, the initiative has the full support of the Ministry of Agriculture (1). In this case, the measure implies moving forward with transgenic contamination in Chile, since despite projecting the crop only for "seed production" it is clear that transgenic soy will end up contaminating crops and food throughout the country. Much more serious is that the proposal is carried out with the endorsement of the Ministry of Agriculture.

- In Venezuela, the president of the Subcommittee on Industry and Commerce, Jhonny Milano, after listening to the presentation of the representative of Monsanto, whose main objective was to spread the benefits of the production of transgenic items, stated that the Economic Development Commission of the National Assembly decided to initiate an evaluation of the feasibility of the application of these mechanisms, together with specialists in the biotechnology and agricultural area. It pointed out that the conclusions of said debate may or may not generate a partial reform of the Law on Seeds, Material for Animal Reproduction and Inputs (approved in October 2002, Official Gazette 37,552), whose content leaves some gaps in this regard (2 ). This clearly means that Monsanto has managed in this way to open a door to modify current legislation and thus obtain authorization to cultivate transgenics in Venezuela, something that has been prohibited until now.

- In Mexico, the US transnational and the National Confederation of Agricultural Maize Producers (CNPAM) signed an agreement whereby Monsanto agrees with Mexican farmers to bring them closer to biotechnology, in addition to establishing a fund that serves to “protect native varieties of Mexican corn " (3). Through this agreement, Monsanto kills several birds with one stone since it not only achieves the complicity of an organization of farmers, but also takes another step in its project to impose transgenic corn in Mexico (prohibited until today) and opens the possibility of access hundreds of native varieties with the excuse of their "protection".

- In Argentina, the Argentine Agrarian Federation (FAA) has announced these days that the Monsanto company "once again opposes normalizing the issue of seeds by facing the institutional framework, and together with a group of seedbeds, as reported by the media, they intend to force agricultural producers to sign a consensus note "(4). Faced with the failure of pressure to collect royalties on soybeans produced in Argentina through the judicial measures that it promoted in the European Union, now it returns to the burden on Argentine producers pretending that the royalties are paid with the signing of said "note consensus ”, which visibly has no consensus.


Monsanto's strategy repeats its historical scheme which, unfortunately, has already yielded good practical results:

• Seek allies within governments, with farmers' organizations or seed companies to overcome the resistance of other sectors and impose norms that make their claims viable.

• Encourage contamination with GMOs by imposing them through fait accompli.

• Ensure the absence of public and democratic debate, allowing their servile counterparts to give a public voice on the agreements and proposals made.

• Pressuring through legal channels or private contracts to maintain control and its profits through the collection of royalties.

The reaction of civil society has not been long in coming and in Chile the peasant organizations (CLOC- Via Campesina) issued a statement stating:

The Monsanto initiative joins other attacks against peasant agriculture and the health of all Chileans. We inform public opinion, Parliament and the Government that from today we will mobilize to prevent Chile from becoming one more pawn of Monsanto. We believe that the government must fulfill its duty to protect the health, food production, environment and well-being of Chileans, especially their poorest and most attacked social sectors. We also believe that parliament has the duty to monitor government activity and prevent the Ministry of Agriculture from supporting transnational companies to the detriment of the well-being and future of all of us. We call on farmers and peasants and their organizations, as well as social and citizen organizations, to mobilize with us, so that the government and parliament fulfill their duty, and so that social pressure prevents Monsanto from adding us to its long list. of abuses ”.

In Argentina the FAA denounces this "new strategy, an alternative to the negative reception suffered by attempts to collect in Europe the spurious claims of Monsanto that are legally denied in the national territory" and points out that "agricultural producers must be warned of this and reject any imposition on the part of the seed suppliers ”.

As stated at the Mali Food Sovereignty Forum in February this year, peasant organizations are clear that “food sovereignty gives us hope and the power to conserve, recover and develop our knowledge and our capacity to produce food "And are willing to fight" technologies and practices that erode our capacity to produce food in the future, damage the environment and endanger our health. These include transgenic crops and animals, terminator technology, industrial aquaculture and destructive fishing practices, the so-called “White Revolution” of industrial practices in the dairy sector, the so-called “New and Old Green Revolutions”, and the “Green Deserts” of monocultures of industrial biofuels and other plantations ”.

Although the struggle is very unequal, it is these voices that have a future and grow day by day through new alliances and constructions. The only possible path for the peasants of Latin America to travel is that of resistance through denunciation, mobilization, and civil disobedience, while at the same time advancing in the construction and reconstruction of another model in which seeds and agriculture are at the service of the food sovereignty of the peoples.

Notes

1- National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women, "Chile: Monsanto and the Ministry of Agriculture announce new aggression against peasant agriculture and citizens", April 5, 2007, http://www.biodiversidadla.org/content/view/full/31322

2- Bolivarian News Agency, "AN will evaluate the viability of the use of transgenics in food crops", April 18, 2007, http://www.abn.info.ve/go_news5.php?articulo=89268&lee=18

3- La Noticia Tiempo, "Monsanto agrees with Mexican farmers to bring them closer to biotechnology", April 19, 2007, http://www.tiempo.com.mx/not_detalle.php?id_n=25331

4- Digital Analysis, "The Argentine Agrarian Federation denounced pressure from the Monsanto company to producers", April 19, 2007, http://www.analisisdigital.com.ar/noticias.php?ed=1&di=0&no=56759

5- Declaration of Nyeleni, Mali, February 27, 2007, http://www.nyeleni2007.org/spip.php?article291


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