jueves, diciembre 03, 2015

Argentina: New “national” GMOs. Resistance multiplies.


During the last 20 years, Argentina has been the point of entry through which GMOs have spread out over the Southern Cone. To understand the role this country has played in the most spectacular advance by a crop ever witnessed since the beginnings of industrial agriculture, it is indispensable to note the introduction of “Roundup Ready” (RR) soybeans – which resist Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide – into this country almost simultaneously with their approval in the United States in 1996. Argentina was the beachhead from which RR soy illegally invaded South America, coming to occupy over 46 million hectares of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia within the space of two decades. They were helped along on this course by a lack of public debate and by corporate capture of the regulatory apparatus, leading to arbitrary adjustments of the legal framework to suit the corporations’ requirements.
We have previously, and at length, discussed the social and environmental impacts of this expansioni: destruction of biodiversity, pollution, land concentration, displacement of farmers, destruction of regional economies, and increased corporate power. In this article, we present some significant developments that have occurred in the last year. These developments demonstrate that Argentina continues to be a global proving ground for GMOs even as public resistance grows. Argentina is becoming a mirror in which the world can behold its own future.
On the one hand, the government of Argentina has announced with great fanfare the introduction of new GMOs allegedly different from the existing ones in three ways: 1) the transgenes do not code for herbicide resistance or production of the Bt toxin; 2) some of them are claimed to promise yield increases, and 3) they have not been developed by corporations but by universities and public research institutes. These, however, are pretexts under which to continue imposing the same agribusiness model on our country.
On the other hand, public doubt and resistance is multiplying every day in many walks of life, while all appearances are that the GM model of agriculture is showing signs of strain. It is not as invincible as it once appeared.

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