CHILE: Mobilization against GM crops
by CARMELO RUIZ-MARRERO
CIP Americas Policy Program, http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/2528
Dozens of Chilean civil society organizations are standing together in the fight against a so-called “Plant Breeders’ Rights” Senate bill. According to the protest campaign, the project “implies that the genetic contamination of vegetable species, would put in danger native seeds, would have negative impacts on consumer health, would threaten all agricultural exports, organic agricultural production, and also the competitiveness of exports in this sector. Furthermore, it would dramatically increase the dependence of farmers on transnational agrochemical corporations, and would raise the price of food.”
“We are talking about a direct attack on food production which was, until now, in the hands of campesinos and medium-sized producers and who will find themselves subject to greater costs and greater controls,” said an open letter signed by many groups including the National Committee For the Defense of Flora and Fauna (CODEFF) and the National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women (ANAMURI).
“(Genetically modified) crops are harmful for flora and fauna, the soil, and human health, the open letter affirmed. “Until now no biotechnology company has presented studies which prove the safety of (GM foods) in human and animal health. On the contrary, there is an increasing number of studies that show there is a significant threat to health and the environment, which generates great uncertainty and more precautionary measures around the world. But the authorities do not heed these reasons, nor do they seem interested in protecting producers’ organic and traditional crops, despite their internationally recognized quality.”
The open letter’s signatories warned that the bill in question will not make Chilean agricultural exports more competitive, but rather the contrary. “It could mark the closing of markets which demand non-GM products and products free of pesticide residue, that is to say food products that are safe and healthy, that are worthy of a country which is trying to turn itself into a food producing power and where consumers are also increasingly conscious of their rights.”
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