miércoles, abril 30, 2008

Call to action towards CBD, Bonn, 17-19th May 2008

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Sustainable family farming keeps diversity alive and cools down the earth! Stop the privatisation of natural resources!

Faced with climate change, the destruction of biodiversity and an energy crisis, transnational companies pretend they have the magic solutions to permit business as usual. They promote many « miracle-technologies » – GM plants and trees, synthetic germoplasm, nanotechnologies, Terminator, Transcontainer, agrofuels, « carbon traps » - that they claim will tackle the environmental crisis.
Hidden behind their paternalistis claims, however, is their wish to privatise all Earth’s resources: land, fresh water, germoplasm, oceans, knowledge and, soon, even the air that we breathe. In the name of the environment, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and other international treaties concerning the environment provide, in fact, legal legitimacy for this global robbery. For example, the only practical use for GMOs, Terminator and other hybrid seeds is to enforce intellectual property rights on resources, seeds, that have been bred, kept and improved during millenia by indigenous and farmers’ communities. These communities have never improved seeds as goods for sale.

As soon as they are developed by the industry, these technologies destroy land, biodiversity and farmers. By promoting industrial agriculture and the erosion of all natural ressources, industry and industries’ technologies impound social and environmental crisis.

As opposed to this devastating model, Vía Campesina insists that the world’s farmers, men and women, are themselves able to deal with environmental challenges: by fixing carbon in the soils sustainable family farming cools down the earth, farm seed needs less carbon-greedy inputs and can adapt to climate change, local markets eliminate the need for long distance transport and thus reduce CO2 emissions and save fossil energy.

Thus, the destruction of rural communities must be stopped immediately, whilst food sovereignty and farmers’ rights be respected. The priorities are an immediate end to privatisation of those resources need for farming and their redistribution and market regulation.

We call to mobilize from the 17th to the 19th May in Bonn, Germany, to stop the pirates. We will defend the diversity of our cultures and our collective rights to use natural resources against private appropriation with colour and music.

For more information :
Guy Kastler guy.kastler@wanadoo.frThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it +33 603945721 (French)
José Oviedo joseoviedo@costarricense.crThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it (Spanish)
Heike Schiebeck heike.schiebeck@gmx.atThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it +43-423887053 (German, English)

Etiquetas: , ,

martes, abril 29, 2008

Making a killing from the food crisis

A new report by GRAIN -

The world food crisis is hurting a lot of people, but global agribusiness firms, traders and speculators are raking in huge profits.

Much of the news coverage of the world food crisis has focussed on riots in low-income countries, where workers and others cannot cope with skyrocketing costs of staple foods. But there is another side to the story: the big profits that are being made by huge food corporations and investors. Cargill, the world’s biggest grain trader, achieved an 86% increase in profits from commodity trading in the first quarter of this year. Bunge, another huge food trader, had a 77% increase in profits during the last quarter of last year. ADM, the second largest grain trader in the world, registered a 67% per cent increase in profits in 2007.

Nor are retail giants taking the strain: profits at Tesco, the UK supermarket giant, rose by a record 11.8% last year. Other major retailers, such as France’s Carrefour and Wal-Mart of the US, say that food sales are the main sector sustaining their profit increases. Investment funds, running away from sliding stock markets and the credit crunch, are having a heyday on the commodity markets, driving prices out of reach for food importers like Bangladesh and the Philippines.

These profits are no freak windfalls. Over the last 30 years, the IMF and the World Bank have pushed so-called developing countries to dismantle all forms of protection for their local farmers and to open up their markets to global agribusiness, speculators and subsidised food from rich countries. This has transformed most developing countries from being exporters of food into importers. Today about 70 per cent of developing countries are net importers of food. On top of this, finance liberalisation has made it easier for investors to take control of markets for their own private benefit.

Agricultural policy has lost touch with its most basic goal: that of feeding people. Rather than rethink their own disastrous policies, governments and think tanks are blaming production problems, the growing demand for food in China and India, and biofuels. While these have played a role, the fundamental cause of today's food crisis is neoliberal globalisation itself, which has transformed food from a source of livelihood security into a mere commodity to be gambled away, even at the cost of widespread hunger among the world’s poorest people.


GRAIN, "Making a killing from hunger: We need to overturn food policy, now!" Against the grain, April 2008,
and in PDF

Etiquetas: ,

lunes, abril 28, 2008

The World Food Crisis

The only surprising thing about the global food crisis to Jim Goodman is the notion that anyone finds it surprising. "So," says the Wisconsin dairy farmer, "they finally figured out, after all these years of pushing globalization and genetically modified [GM] seeds, that instead of feeding the world we've created a food system that leaves more people hungry. If they'd listened to farmers instead of corporations, they would've known this was going to happen." Goodman has traveled the world to speak, organize and rally with groups such as La Via Campesina, the global movement of peasant and farm organizations that has been warning for years that "solutions" promoted by agribusiness conglomerates were designed to maximize corporate profits, not help farmers or feed people. The food shortages, suddenly front-page news, are not new. Hundreds of millions of people were starving and malnourished last year; the only change is that as the scope of the crisis has grown, it has become more difficult to "manage" the hunger that a failed food system accepts rather than feeds.

The current global food system, which was designed by US-based agribusiness conglomerates like Cargill, Monsanto and ADM and forced into place by the US government and its allies at the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization, has planted the seeds of disaster by pressuring farmers here and abroad to produce cash crops for export and alternative fuels rather than grow healthy food for local consumption and regional stability. The only smart short-term response is to throw money at the problem. George W. Bush's release of $200 million in emergency aid to the UN's World Food Program was appropriate, but Washington must do more. Rising food prices may not be causing riots in the United States, but food banks here are struggling to meet demand as joblessness grows. Congress should answer Senator Sherrod Brown's call to allocate $100 million more to domestic food programs and make sure, as Representative Jim McGovern urges, that an overdue farm bill expands programs for getting fresh food from local farms to local consumers.

Beyond humanitarian responses, the cure for what ails the global food system - and an unsteady US farm economy - is not more of the same globalization and genetic gimmickry. That way has left thirty-seven nations with food crises while global grain giant Cargill harvests an 86 percent rise in profits and Monsanto reaps record sales from its herbicides and seeds. For years, corporations have promised farmers that problems would be solved by trade deals and technology - especially GM seeds, which University of Kansas research now suggests reduce food production and the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development says won't end global hunger. The "market," at least as defined by agribusiness, isn't working. We "have a herd of market traders, speculators and financial bandits who have turned wild and constructed a world of inequality and horror," says Jean Ziegler, the UN's right-to-food advocate. But try telling that to the Bush Administration or to World Bank president (and former White House trade rep) Robert Zoellick, who's busy exploiting tragedy to promote trade liberalization. "If ever there is a time to cut distorting agricultural subsidies and open markets for food imports, it must be now," says Zoellick. "Wait a second," replies Dani Rodrik, a Harvard political economist who tracks trade policy. "Wouldn't the removal of these distorting policies raise world prices in agriculture even further?" Yes. World Bank studies confirm that wheat and rice prices will rise if Zoellick gets his way.

Instead of listening to the White House or the World Bank, Congress should recognize - as a handful of visionary members like Ohio Representative Marcy Kaptur have - that current trends confirm the wisdom of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's call for "an urgent rethink of the respective roles of markets and governments." That's far more useful than blaming Midwestern farmers for embracing inflated promises about the potential of ethanol - although we should re-examine whether aggressive US support for biofuels is not only distorting corn prices but harming livestock and dairy producers who can barely afford feed and fertilizer. Instead of telling farmers they're wrong to seek the best prices for their crops, Congress should make sure that farmers can count on good prices for growing the food Americans need. It can do this by providing a strong safety net to survive weather and market disasters and a strategic grain reserve similar to the strategic petroleum reserve to guard against food-price inflation.

Congress should also embrace trade and development policies that help developing countries regulate markets with an eye to feeding the hungry rather than feeding corporate profits. This principle, known as "food sovereignty," sees struggling farmers and hungry people and says, as the Oakland Institute's Anuradha Mittal observes, that it is time to "stop worshiping the golden calf of the so-called free market and embrace, instead, the principle [that] every country and every people have a right to food that is affordable." As Mittal says, "When the market deprives them of this, it is the market that has to give."

John Nichols is a co-founder of Free Press and the co-author with Robert W. McChesney of TRAGEDY & FARCE: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy - The New Press.

© 2008 The Nation

original story at: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080512/nichols

End Food-to-Fuel Diversion: The World Is Getting Hungry

by Lester Brown and Jonathan Lewis

The willingness to try, fail and try again is the essence of scientific progress. The same sometimes holds true for public policy.

It is in this spirit that we call upon Congress to revisit recently enacted federal mandates requiring the diversion of foodstuffs for production of biofuels.

These “food-to-fuel” mandates were meant to move America toward energy independence and mitigate global climate change. But the evidence irrefutably demonstrates that this policy is not delivering on either goal. In fact, it is causing environmental harm and contributing to a growing global food crisis.

Food-to-fuel mandates were created for the right reasons. The hope of using American-grown crops to fuel our cars seemed like a win-win-win scenario: Our farmers would enjoy the benefit of crop-price stability. Our national security would be enhanced by having a new domestic energy source. Our environment would be protected by a cleaner fuel.

But new evidence has shown that the justifications for these mandates were inaccurate.

It is now abundantly clear that food-to-fuel mandates are leading to increased environmental damage. First, producing ethanol requires huge amounts of energy — most of which comes from coal. Second, the production process creates a number of hazardous byproducts, and some production facilities are reportedly dumping these in local water sources.

Third, food-to-fuel mandates are helping drive up the price of agricultural staples, leading to significant changes in land use with major environmental harm. Here in the United States, farmers are pulling land out of the federal conservation program, threatening fragile habitats.

Increased agricultural production also means increased fertilizer use. The National Academy of Sciences reported last month that meeting the congressional food-to-fuel mandate by 2022 would lead to a 10 percent to 19 percent increase in the size of the Gulf of Mexico’s “dead zone” — an area so polluted by fertilizer runoff that no aquatic life can survive there.

Most troubling, though, is that the higher food prices caused in large part by food-to-fuel mandates create incentives for global deforestation, including in the Amazon basin.

The result is devastating: We lose an ecological treasure and critical habitat for endangered species, as well as the world’s largest “carbon sink.” And when the forests are cleared and the land plowed for farming, the carbon that had been sequestered in the plants and soil is released. Princeton scholar Tim Searchinger has modeled this impact and reports in Science magazine that the net impact of the food-to-fuel push will be an increase in global carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, the mandates are not reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Last year, the United States burned about a quarter of its national corn supply as fuel - and this led to only a 1 percent reduction in the country’s oil consumption.

Turning one-fourth of our corn into fuel is affecting global food prices. U.S. food prices are rising at twice the rate of inflation, hitting the pocketbooks of lower-income Americans and people living on fixed incomes.

Globally, the United Nations and other relief organizations are facing gaping shortfalls as the cost of food outpaces their ability to provide aid for the 800 million people who lack food security. Deadly food riots have broken out in dozens of nations in the past few months, most recently in Haiti and Egypt. World Bank President Robert Zoellick warns of a global food emergency.

The immediate necessary step is a major increase in global food aid. But beyond that, America must stop contributing to food price inflation through mandates that force us to use food to feed our cars instead of to feed people.

Taking these together — the environmental damage, the human pain of food price inflation, the failure to reduce our dependence on oil — it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that food-to-fuel mandates have failed.

Congress took a big chance on biofuels that, unfortunately, has not worked out. Now, in the spirit of progress, let us learn the appropriate lessons from this setback, and let us act quickly to mitigate the damage and set upon a new course that holds greater promise for meeting the challenges ahead.

Lester Brown is founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute. Jonathan Lewis is a climate specialist and lawyer with the Clean Air Task Force. They wrote this article for the Washington Post.

Etiquetas: , ,

Public Sentiment Against GM Crops


(Taken from 'Biotech Bets on Agrofuels http://americas.irc-online.org/am/5179)

GM organisms contain genetic codes (genomes) that have been altered by genetic engineering-an unprecedented procedure that creates genetic combinations not possible in nature. The main GM products in the U.S. market are corn and soy, which have been genetically modified for resistance to herbicides (usually Monsanto's Roundup) or to pests (known as Bt crops). These crops are used mostly to feed farm animals and to make additives (such as sweeteners and starch) present in most processed foods.

In spite of the upbeat propaganda of the biotechnology companies, broad sectors of society reject GM products, claiming they are neither safe nor necessary. Thousands of protesters from all over the world swamped three United Nations events that took place in southern Brazil almost simultaneously in March 2006: the biennial conferences of the Biodiversity Convention and the Biosafety Protocol, and the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Local Development. Prominent among their demands was a ban on GM crops.

As the meetings and protests took place, activists of the MST, Brazil's landless people's movement, seized a farm in the state of Parana where the Syngenta biotechnology corporation had illegally planted GM corn and soy in the buffer zone of the Iguaçu National Park. On Oct. 21, 2007 armed gunmen violently evicted them, wounding many and murdering 34 year-old Valmir "Keno" Mota de Oliveira, father of three. The MST, Vía Campesina, and countless civil society organizations in Brazil have condemned these acts. They demand that Syngenta take responsibility for the killing, that it be held accountable for its environmental violations, close down its experimental plot, and leave the country.

In February 2007, farmers and animal herders, representatives of civil society groups, social movements, and environmentalists from 17 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe met in Mali to discuss food and farming issues. Together they issued the Bamako Declaration, which, among other things, categorically says NO to genetically modified organisms.

The Bamako Declaration was part of the preparatory process for the World Forum for Food Sovereignty, which took place that same week in Mali. Over 500 men and women from more than 80 countries, and representing organizations of peasants/family farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, landless peoples, rural workers, migrants, pastoralists, forest communities, women, youth, consumers, and environmental and urban movements, drafted the Nyeleni Declaration.

The declaration rejects GM foods: (We fight against) "technologies and practices that undercut our future food-producing capacities, damage the environment, and put our health at risk. These include transgenic crops and animals, terminator technology, industrial aquaculture and destructive fishing practices, the so-called White Revolution of industrial dairy practices, the so-called 'old' and 'new' Green Revolutions, and the "Green Deserts" of industrial bio-fuel monocultures and other plantations."

In March 2008, around 300 women of the MST destroyed a nursery of GM corn seedlings belonging to Monsanto in the southern Brazilian state of São Paulo to protest the government's biosafety council's approval of plantings of GM corn. In the days that followed, some 1,500 women protested in front of several Syngenta properties in the state of Parana.

Etiquetas: , , , ,

A report from the Transnational Institute

Towards a reality check in nine key areas

The rush for ‘biofuels’ is already causing serious damage. Far from being sustainable, the spread of what are more accurately called ‘agrofuels’ – liquid fuels produced from biomass grown in large-scale monocultures – is compromising biodiversity and fuelling human rights violations. As the industry expands, it is encouraging intensified, industrial agriculture, providing a new promotional vehicle for GM crops, and posing a serious threat to food sovereignty. The argument that these ‘biofuels’ will mitigate climate change is unproven – indeed, the destruction of rainforests, peatlands and other ecosystems to make way for agrofuel plantations may well accelerate global warming.

Download PDF (639 Kb)

Read an executive summary of the report (1340 words)

Press release: new report calls for a 'reality check' on biofuels


1. Do agrofuels really mitigate climate change?

2. Are agrofuels a promotional instrument for GE crops and what biosafety risks do they pose?

3. Second Generation Agrofuels: How do unproven promises of future technological fixes shape the present debate?

4. How will large scale agrofuel production affect biodiversity?

5. Does the structure of global agrofuel production threaten food security?

6. What is the real impact of agrofuels on rural development and jobs?

7. Is there a link between agrofuel monoculture plantations and Human Rights Violations?

8. Do current ‘Sustainability Certification’ initiatives for biomass/agrofuels form a real and credible solution?

9. Will the voices of experience, resistance and opposition of the affected groups from the South be heard?


domingo, abril 27, 2008

Combustibles nuevos, biopiratería vieja
Silvia Ribeiro

En los meses recientes, a la gran cantidad de voces de la sociedad civil que alertan sobre los impactos sociales, económicos y ambientales de la nueva ola de agrocombustibles, se han unido los informes críticos de instituciones internacionales que han sido cruciales para el desarrollo del neoliberalismo, como el Banco Mundial (BM) y el Fondo Monetario Internacional.

Una de las explicaciones de la súbita “toma de conciencia” de ese tipo de instituciones es que, cobijados en esas críticas, promueven como una de las soluciones nuevas tecnologías de alto riesgo para el ambiente y la sociedad, pero con grandes ganancias para quienes las controlan. No existe cuestionamiento de parte de esas instituciones a los problemas de fondo, como la matriz de producción energética y la enorme desigualdad del consumo y de impactos. En cambio, intentan hacernos creer que la “solución” será tecnológica, por ejemplo, mediante una “segunda generación” de agrocombustibles. Para ello, promueven y justifican (sin ninguna prueba real de su utilidad y sin mención a sus impactos) cultivos y árboles transgénicos, junto con el desarrollo de tecnologías aún peores, como la biología sintética o “ingeniería genética extrema”, como la hemos llamado en el Grupo ETC.

La biología sintética, que es la creación sintética de ADN, se propone construir microrganismos vivos artificiales, o alterar sus metabolismos naturales con secuencias artificiales de ADN para que puedan procesar celulosa más eficientemente o producir nuevos combustibles. Con la excusa de salvar al planeta del calentamiento global y con la motivación real de aprovechar los desastres globales para obtener más ganancias, no tienen ningún prurito en intentar crear seres vivos nunca antes vistos, con impactos impredecibles. Un ejemplo de este tipo es el contrato anunciado el pasado 22 de abril entre la empresa Amyris Biotechnologies y el grupo brasileño de azúcar y etanol Crystalsev, que se propone procesar caña de azúcar con microrganismos alterados para producir biodiesel.

Otro ejemplo, más directamente relacionado a México, es la empresa Synthetic Genomics, creada por el controvertido genetista Craig Venter en 2005, con capital del regiomontano Alfonso Romo, y la participación de otro mexicano, el biotecnólogo Juan Enríquez Cabot. En junio 2007 se alió con la petrolera BP para el desarrollo de biología sintética y vida artificial aplicada a biocombustibles.

El aporte más significativo de México al lucro privado de Venter lo hizo la investigadora del Instituto de Ecología de la UNAM, Valeria Souza. En efecto, el acervo de recursos microbianos al que tiene acceso la empresa de Venter para sus experiencias de biología sintética y el lucro millonario que anuncian, proviene de la travesía global que hizo Venter en su barco-laboratorio Sorcerer II, recorriendo los mares megadiversos del planeta tomando muestras de la vida microbiana. Venter afirmaba que su expedición era “sin fines de lucro”. Desconfiados (con razón) las autoridades de otros países que recorrió, incluyendo Ecuador, Polinesia y Australia, le exigieron que firmara extensos contratos para prevenir la privatización y el uso comercial de los recursos obtenidos.

No han sido muy efectivos para impedir los objetivos comerciales de Venter, pero en México ni siquiera tuvo que tomarse ese trabajo. Le bastó con establecer “colaboración” con Souza –ni siquiera con la institución que la aloja– que al parecer, a cambio de tener su nombre en algunas publicaciones, le brindó su permiso de colecta científica para que se llevara muestras de la vida microbiana única en Yucatán, sin más trámite ni control mas que una “declaración de entendimiento” por parte de la institución de Venter, ahora extinta.

Valeria Souza ya tenía un antecedente similar, cuando facilitó para la NASA estadunidense los estudios y extracción de recursos de la vida microbiana única de Cuatro Ciénegas, en Cohauila. Paradójicamente, la NASA buscaba, entre otras cosas, microrganismos extremófilos, igual que la empresa Diversa Corporation. Diversa sí firmó un contrato oficial con la UNAM –para extraer mucho menos de lo que Souza le permitió llevarse a Venter–, pero éste fue cancelado porque la Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente dictaminó que la UNAM no podía decidir sobre los recursos genéticos de la federación.

En el caso Souza-Venter, mucho más oscuro y amplio tanto en los recursos extraídos como en la forma de proceder y las vastas repercusiones que puede tener su utilización futura, ni la UNAM ni las autoridades han tomado ninguna medida al respecto. No es tarde para ello.

*Investigadora del Grupo ETC


Etiquetas: , ,


Carmelo Ruiz Marrero
(Taken from 'Biotech Bets on Agrofuels' http://americas.irc-online.org/am/5179)

Brazil is attracting more investment in agrofuels than any other country ($9 billion in 2006). Brazil got a head start in the industry and has been running hard ever since. It already runs most of its vehicles on sugarcane ethanol, and now has 62% of the world sugar market, compared to only 7% of the market in 1994. Sugarcane monocultures in Brazil cover 6.9 million hectares, with half of those dedicated to ethanol. By 2025 it expects to add 42 million hectares more.

Its biodiesel potential is also massive: 21% of the country's farmland (almost 20 million hectares) is planted with soy. "In the next 10-15 years, we will see Brazil become the leading producer of biodiesel," said Brazilian president Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva in 2005. Brazil is expected to overtake the United States as the world's leading soy exporter by the end of 2008.

Agribusiness giant ADM has chosen Brazil as the hub of its South American biodiesel operations. Its new biodiesel refinery in the southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul is Brazil's biggest and its clients include state governor Blairo Maggi, who also happens to be one of the world's largest soy farmers.

"To secure its share in the emerging global industry of clean energy, Brazil has adopted quite an impressive strategy on agrofuels, from combining public and private sector interests," according to a 2008 joint report by the U.S.-based Oakland Institute and Brazil's Terra de Direitos. Brazil's "Agroenergy Plan (2006-2011), (is) the most ambitious public policy on agroenergy in the world."

Far from being rivals, the United States and Brazil are agrofuel partners. Together they produce 70% of the world's ethanol and are working in tandem to maintain their supremacy in this sector.
In March 2007 Lula traveled to Camp David to sign a memorandum of understanding on ethanol with U.S. President George W. Bush. The agreement forms a bilateral partnership on research and development, feasibility studies, technical assistance, and greater compatibility of standards and codes with the goal of establishing a world commodity market for agrofuels. A few days later, Bush visited Brazil and several other Latin American countries in what is popularly known as the "ethanol tour."

"Brazil is paving the way in transforming ethanol into an internationally tradable energy commodity," says Roberto Abdenur, former Brazilian ambassador in the United States. "An improved bilateral relationship is not only necessary and beneficial for Brazilian interests, but U.S. interests as well. The bilateral dialogue is increasingly a two-way street. The United States continues to set the agenda for the international arena; however, Brazil is a decisive player in defining the terms on which that agenda is discussed."

Ethanol is an important component of Brazil's ambitious global designs. It has reached agroenergy agreements with countries like Senegal, Benin, South Africa, Nigeria, Japan, China, and India. In October 2007 Lula toured several African countries, including Congo and Angola to, among other things, urge them to join the "biofuels revolution." Among other aspirations, the country is seeking to join the UN Security Council. Once in the Council, Brazil hopes to be able to exert a decisive influence on the UN's deliberations related to global warming and therefore any proposed solution, like agrofuels.

Not few political observers contend that the Bush-Lula "ethanol alliance" is a geopolitical maneuver intended to economically isolate the governments of Bolivia's Evo Morales and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, both of whom are funding their social change projects with the export of fossil fuels.

"The political-business alliance between the United States and Brazil around ethanol is a blow against regional integration based on oil and gas that for several years has been loosely constructed between Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, and recently Ecuador," said Uruguayan journalist Raúl Zibechi in a 2007 Americas Program report.

According to Zibechi, the Brazil-U.S. alliance breathes new life into the objectives that Bush had to postpone in November 2005 when the Free Trade Area of the Americas foundered in the Americas Summit in Mar del Plata, Argentina. "A long term agreement with Brazil would allow the United States to achieve three central objectives: diversify the petroleum matrix, reducing its dependence on imports from Venezuela and the Middle East; weaken Venezuela and its allies; and put brakes on the regional integration powered by hydrocarbons which had taken off in 2006."

Etiquetas: , ,

SEEDLING, April 2008 issue

See the Seedling issue online: http://www.grain.org/seedling/?type=72
Download the entire issue in PDF: http://www.grain.org/seedling/?id=540&pdf (6.4 MB)
Details of articles below.


Even if we weren't there, most of us remember COP 8, which was held in Curitiba in Brazil in March 2006. Demonstrations by farmers, peasants, indigenous peoples and civil society compelled government representatives from all over the world to uphold the ban on GURTs (Genetic Use Restriction Technologies). GURTs are experimental forms of genetic engineering technology, sometimes referred to as "terminator" technologies, that provide the means to restrict the development of a trait in a plant variety by turning a genetic switch on or off. It seemed that the "Ban Terminator" campaign had succeeded in putting suicide seeds and other such technologies into a deep freeze. It was a moment of triumph which reaffirmed the power of social movements and popular organisations to influence the course of history.

But, as is demonstrated in the opening article in this issue, first published in our sister Latin American publication, Biodiversidad, the push for GURTs continues, even within governments that supported the ban. Just a few months after the Curitiba meeting, the European Union began the Transcontainer Project to develop genetically modified crops that are "biologically contained". It is the same terminator technology but dressed up with a new coating of greenwash. The Transcontainer website describes what they are doing as an environmentally friendly way of "significantly reducing the spread of transgenes of GM crop plants to conventional and organic crop plants and to wild and weedy relatives". COP 9 is to be held in Bonn, Germany in May. As it approaches, it is time to challenge this technology yet again.

Terminator technology is only one of a range of "second generation" genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In this issue we are publishing an important article by Guy Kastler from the Réseau Semences Paysannes (Peasant Seed Network) in France. He explains in careful and concise language the new strategy that the European biotechnology companies have assembled, with the support of the authorities. On the face of it, European consumers appear to be winning the battle against GMOs. The European authorities are no longer pressing for the acceptance of US-led "first generation" GMOs. Indeed, Monsanto's tactics in chasing farmers for the payment of royalties have been criticised as far too aggressive. But, as Kastler demonstrates, Europe's reappraisal only amounts to a tactical retreat. Behind the scenes, European companies are quietly developing a second generation of GMOs that will be far harder to combat.

These new GMOs will be equipped with GURTs, or they will be developed by new high-tech breeding techniques that will permit the companies even greater control over seeds through legal mechanisms such as plant breeders' rights. Since many of these new genetically manipulated products will fall outside the strict definition of a GMO, they will be exempt from the mandatory assessment and specific authorisation that are required for GMOs. Many consumers opposed to GMOs will unwittingly end up purchasing them.

In our special issue on agrofuels in last July's Seedling, we paid insufficient attention to India, which is emerging as a leading producer of biodiesel, mainly manufactured from jatropha, a bushy tree. As it grows well on dry, infertile soil, jatropha is often cited as an ideal crop for agrofuels, as it can be grown on waste land. However, what appears as "waste land" to outsiders can often play a crucial role in the life of rural communities who have to make full use of scant resources to survive. Jatropha has long been a useful plant for many of these communities, but today it is being used as a tool in the corporate take-over of rural India.

Our interviewee in this issue is Daycha Siripatra, a leading grassroots activist in Thailand. He talks about the farmers' profound knowledge of seeds and plants, which means that, even without carrying out scientific tests, they realise when their crops have been contaminated by GMOs. There are more than 6,000 varieties of rice in Thailand, he says, and these varieties need to be grown in the fields where, in the skilled hands of local farmers, they can adapt to changing climatic conditions. It is the experience of people like Daycha Siripatra that led GRAIN recently to argue that it is far more important to have seeds growing and being adapted in the fields, rather than to conserve them in vaults. They must remain a living resource.

The editor

Etiquetas: ,

viernes, abril 25, 2008

Q&A: "Transgenic Seed Companies Lie and Bribe"
Interview with Jesús León Santos, Winner of Goldman Prize*

MEXICO CITY, Apr 24 (Tierramérica) - Biotech corporations that developed genetically modified seeds are bribing authorities and carrying out costly advertising campaigns "plagued with lies in order to create monsters that attack life," says Jesús León Santos, an indigenous man who is one of this year's winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize.

"We showed them that the cultivation techniques of our ancestors are the best and that they represent life. We are on the right path," León Santos said in an interview with Tierramérica correspondent Diego Cevallos.

The 42-year-old Mexican farmer, who has led land recovery projects since he was 18, inspired by traditional indigenous knowledge, was awarded the annual prize given by the U.S.-based Goldman Environmental Foundation, known widely as the "Green Nobel", on Apr. 14.

León Santos's programme is active in an impoverished Mixteca indigenous region of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, one of the most badly eroded areas of the world, according to the United Nations. The region also spews out large numbers of migrants.

The Mixteca Small Farmer Integral Development Centre, headed by León Santos, has planted about four million trees in the area, while developing rainwater collection systems and promoting traditional crops. Some 400 indigenous families have benefited directly from the projects, in which many local residents actively participate.

Most important, they have revived the tradition of the "milpa", a style of agriculture developed by the pre-Hispanic cultures of southern Mexico and Central America, which helps keep soils fertile.

The Mixteca region covers parts of the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Puebla, in southern Mexico, and is home to Mixteca or Ñuu savi Indians ("people of the rains" or clouds). In Oaxaca it extends across 16,000 square kilometres.

León Santos, who received an award of 150,000 dollars with the Goldman Prize, was this year's representative for the North American region. The other regional winners were Pablo Fajardo and Luis Yanza of Ecuador, Feliciano dos Santos of Mozambique, Rosa Hilda Ramos of Puerto Rico, Marina Rikhvanova of Russia and Ignace Schops of Belgium.


TA: The companies that produce genetically modified (GM) seeds are asking Mexico to allow its maize varieties to be planted here because they say they are much more productive. What do you think?

JLS: GM seeds can be monsters in comparison to what nature has created. We can't fool around with what is natural, and those companies are truly creating monsters that attack life, not just the native seeds but also ourselves. What I'd tell the seed companies is that they carry out campaigns that are not ethical, because they lie and bribe governments.

TA: But each year there are more and more GM crops in the world and their promoters argue that this technology has come to stay.

JLS: To everyone who thinks that our ancient systems are just a matter of romantic ideals, we say that we are on the right path. What they are proposing is a disaster. When those modified seeds can no longer be controlled, they could cause a global catastrophe.

TA: How should this danger that you see be dealt with?

JLS: We have to do what they do: carry out campaigns. They have an incredible amount of money and can make their million-dollar propaganda, and at times even buy off the authorities to allow them to plant their crops. We have to work in a different way: convince the public and show them that what we are doing is producing and protecting life itself.

READ THE REST: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42116

(*Originally published by Latin American newspapers that are part of the Tierramérica network. Tierramérica is a specialised news service produced by IPS with the backing of the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme.)

Etiquetas: ,

La única soja responsable es menos soja. La Mesa Redonda sobre Soja Responsable impide las soluciones reales

Declaración de la Federación de Amigos de la Tierra Internacional: "La Federación de Amigos de la Tierra Internacional1 fuertemente rechaza el actual proceso de la Mesa Redonda sobre Soja Responsable (RTRS, por sus siglas en inglés). Esta mesa redonda no encara los grandes impactos sociales y ambientales de los cultivos de soja a escala industrial e impide las soluciones reales. La certificación provee una fachada de sustentabilidad para las corporaciones multinacionales y el agronegocio, que controlan la producción, el financiamiento, el comercio, el procesamiento y la promoción de los productos de soja, así como las soluciones reales. La certificación provee una fachada de sustentabilidad para las corporaciones multinacionales y el agronegocio, que controlan la producción, el financiamiento, el comercio, el procesamiento y la promoción de los productos de soja, así como las grandes corporaciones petroleras y de agrocombustibles, como Shell y British Petroleum."


Para acceder a este documento (formato PDF) haga clic sobre el enlace a continuación y descargue el archivo:

La única soja responsable es menos soja |


Amigos de la Tierra rechaza la mesa redonda de "soja responsable"

Amigos de la Tierra rechaza la mesa redonda de "soja responsable"

Descargar (6:07 minutos, 4.2 MB)

Comienza hoy en Buenos Aires, capital de Argentina, la tercera reunión de la Mesa Redonda sobre Soja Responsable, en el medio de manifestaciones de repudio a ese proceso por parte de la sociedad civil organizada.

El polémico encuentro reúne a corporaciones transnacionales cerealeras y biotecnológicas, instituciones financieras internacionales, supermercados europeos, asociaciones de grandes productores y organizaciones conservacionistas, entre otros actores.

Unas 200 organizaciones rechazan la actividad, a la que califican como un “lavado verde corporativo”. Cuestionan además el rol del agronegocio por ser responsable de la devastación de suelos, de la deforestación, la desaparición de la biodiversidad, la expoliación del patrimonio natural y la eliminación de la agricultura familiar.

» leer más

Etiquetas: , , , ,

jueves, abril 24, 2008

¿Soja responsable?


No existen cultivos de soja que sean responsables

No existen cultivos de soja que sean responsables

Descargar (12:29 minutos, 8.58 MB)

La columna radial de la revista Biodiversidad, sustento y culturas de esta semana se orienta a analizar la Mesa Redonda sobre Soja Responsable que se realiza en Argentina. Según explica Carlos Vicente, integrante del Comité Editorial de la revista, esta mesa tiene una larga trayectoria de cuestionamiento por parte de organizaciones campesinas y de la sociedad civil, debido a que es un intento de organizaciones, bancos y agencias de cooperación de “maquillar de verde” a los agronegocios.

Vicente indicó a su vez que este tipo de mecanismos intentan abrir el mercado de las certificaciones, algo que será abordado en la próxima edición de la revista Biodiversidad*, y que en este caso tienen el agravante de que pretenden identificar como “responsable” a un producto que “está barriendo con ecosistemas, con comunidades, con campesinos”, a la vez que contamina un amplio territorio en todo el Cono Sur.

» leer más

Etiquetas: , , , ,

Hambre, enfermedad y muerte

| |

Alertan que monocultivos de soja transgénica son "responsables de hambre, enfermedad y muerte"

Alertan que monocultivos de soja transgénica son "responsables de hambre, enfermedad y muerte"

Descargar (4:20 minutos, 2.97 MB)

Organizaciones sociales, indígenas, campesinas y movimientos urbanos de América Latina emitieron una declaración de repudio a la III Mesa Redonda de la Soja Responsable, que empieza este miércoles en Buenos Aires, capital argentina. “Volvemos a rechazar este proyecto corporativo liderado por la WWF, el Fondo Mundial de la Naturaleza, los grupos sojeros de agronegocios AAPRESIDix de Argentina, ABIOVEx, MAGGI y APROSOJA de Brasil, DAP de Paraguay, Bunge y Cargill de Estados Unidos, la banca ABN-AMRO de Holanda y las ONG FUNDAPAZ de Argentina, GUYRA (Birdlife) de Paraguay, Solidaridad de Holanda, entre otras”, dice el documento.

» leer más


Informe de Amigos de la Tierra

Pantalla de humo sostenible. Las carencias de la certificación de combustibles y alimentos

Los intentos de utilizar esquemas de certificación para reducir los graves problemas sociales y ambientales causados por el creciente volumen de cultivos destinados a la producción de combustibles están condenados al fracaso. Esta semana se celebra en Madrid la “Tercera Exposición y Encuentro sobre Biocombustibles Sostenibles”, donde la certificación estará en el centro del debate. El informe se publica además en vísperas de una controvertida reunión en Buenos Aires para discutir sobre la certificación del cultivo de soja, un cultivo en rápida expansión por su uso para alimentación animal y como combustible. Este nuevo informe de Amigos de la Tierra llega en un momento en el que crece la preocupación a nivel global sobre los impactos de la subida del precio de los alimentos. Los agrocombustibles son uno de los factores que se han asociado con esta tendencia. Su cultivo a gran escala está incrementando la presión sobre el uso de la tierra y fomentando el avance de los monocultivos en los países productores, como Indonesia, Malasia o Brasil.

Evaluación de la efectividad de aplicar criterios de sostenibilidad en la producción de agrocombustibles y alimentación animal en la Región Mercosur. Un informe de Amigos de la Tierra Europa basado en investigaciones de AIDEnvironment.

> La creciente demanda del cultivo de caña de azúcar y de soja, está causando serios problemas sociales y medio ambientales en Latinoamérica. La caña de azúcar se ha expandido para satisfacer el mercado nacional del agrocombustible en Brasil mientras que la soja se exporta principalmente para abastecer a los mercados extranjeros que la utilizan como comida para animales. La creciente demanda por los agrocombustibles en el Norte agravará los problemas ya existentes y dará como resultado a una mayor expansión del cultivo de caña de azúcar y el de soja.

> No es tanto su crecimiento como la actual expansión del cultivo de caña de azúcar y de soja los que causan los mayores problemas sociales y medio ambientales. Hasta ahora ningún sistema de certificación ha propuesto una solución para la deforestación, la destrucción de hábitats, y los conflictos sociales causados por el desplazamiento de las actividades agrícolas a otra parte. Cabe la posibilidad de que ningún sistema de certificación nunca pueda resolver estos problemas.

> Los problemas sociales más generales creados por la expansión de estos cultivos vienen dados porque se escapan del control de los sistemas de certificación y por lo tanto se deben tratar de manera urgente. Uno de los problemas inmediatos de esta expansión es la subida de precios de los alimentos como consecuencia en parte por la creciente rivalidad de las materias primas creadas para los agrocombustibles y para la creciente demanda de comida barata para los animales.

> Todos los sistemas de certificación en desarrollo son iniciativas basadas en el norte dónde los grupos de sociedad civil en Latinoamérica han rechazado o boicoteado en sumayoría. Además lamayoría de los sistemas incluso no han intentado consultar con las comunidades afectadasmientras que desarrollan sus criterios.

> Actualmente los sistemas de certificación están dirigidos a la expansión de los cultivos destinados a la exportación y no tratan los problemas de estos cultivos en expansión destinados al mercado nacional. Esta situación es un problema particular en la producción de etanol para el mercado brasileño y nos puede dar la impresión equivocada de que los problemas se han resuelto y añaden peso a los argumentos de que la certificación es una pantalla de humo ecológico para la producción en expansión.

> Muchos sistemas de certificación están muy dominados por grandes cooperaciones internacionales que hace negocio al vender o utilizar caña de azúcar y soja. Esto se ha demostrado claramente por la Iniciativa para una mejor caña de azúcar que incluso no tiene miembros de la mayor región de expansión de caña de azúcar del mundo, la región Mercosur.

> Se cuestiona si alguno de los sistemas se pondrá alguna vez en práctica y si será obligatorio. Hasta ahora todos los sistemas han fallado por carecer de los requerimientos operativos necesarios para garantizar el cumplimiento de la norma.

> La ausencia de transparencia en muchos sistemas presenta un peligro considerable para estas normas que estarán expuestos al abuso.

Para acceder a este documento (PDF) haga clic sobre el enlace a continuación y descargue el archivo:

Etiquetas: ,

miércoles, abril 23, 2008

IPA on the food crisis and biofuels

Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)


Maria Luisa Mendonça is based in São Paulo, Brazil, and is director of the Social Network for Justice and Human Rights. She co-wrote an article titled "Agrofuels: Myths and Impacts." She said today: "In many regions of [Brazil], the increase in ethanol production has caused the expulsion of small farmers from their lands, and has generated a dependency on the so-called 'sugarcane economy,' where only precarious jobs exist in the sugarcane fields. Large landowners' monopoly on land blocks other economic sectors from developing, and generates unemployment, stimulates migration, and submits workers to degrading conditions.

"This model has caused negative impacts on peasant and indigenous communities, who have their territories threatened by the constant expansion of large plantations. The lack of policies in support of food production leads peasants to substitute their crops for agrofuels, and, as a result, compromises our food sovereignty. In Brazil, small- and medium-sized farmers are responsible for 70 percent of the food production for the internal market.

"It is necessary to strengthen rural workers' organizations to promote sustainable peasant agriculture, prioritizing diversified food production for local consumption. It is crucial to advocate for policies that guarantee subsidies for food production through peasant agriculture. We cannot keep our tanks full while stomachs go empty."

Research biologist at the Global Justice Ecology Project, Smolker said today: "The massive diversion of crops and land to producing biofuel crops instead of food is a major factor in the very dramatic food price increases. Governments and industries have foolishly pursued biofuels in spite of this and in spite of a cascade of scientific studies and statements from all levels of society which clearly demonstrate that biofuels are not only exacerbating hunger, but also rural displacement, climate change and deforestation. Last week the UK instated its Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation for the use of biofuels even as the European Environment Agency warned that the EU-wide mandate should be reconsidered. Even the World Bank recently stated that biofuels are contributing to rising food prices and hunger.

"Incentives and mandates for the use of biofuels are being promoted by agribusiness giants like Monsanto, ADM and Cargill along with big oil, biotechnology and automobile industries -- all of whom stand to profit enormously. The price is being paid right now by those who can no longer afford food or access to land. Civil society is pushing back: this week the Round Table on Responsible Soy is meeting in Buenos Aires and will be met with intense opposition as people denounce the entire concept of 'sustainable industrial agriculture' of the sort that has despoiled so much of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.

"The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development report took a strong position opposing industrial agriculture and GE [genetically engineered] crops while a major new report from University of Kansas makes it clear that GE crops have not delivered on the promise of increased yields. We need new models for food and energy production that do not leave people hungry and displaced, do not contaminate our crop biodiversity and pollute our water and soils, and do not leave food and energy production in the hands of profit-seeking multinational corporations. People are beginning to wake up to this fact.

"Meanwhile, the food crisis is pushing biofuel proponents to argue that the next generation of technologies based on cellulose will avert problems with food competition and deliver greater climate benefits. In fact they could worsen the problems: There is limited space available and we are losing land to desertification and deforestation at an alarming rate. A few weeks ago, [the journal] Science published a pair of articles showing that the greenhouse gas emissions that result from indirect land use changes far outweigh any gains from substituting fossil fuel use. Wood is considered to be one of the most promising feedstocks. But demand for wood is skyrocketing as countries attempting to meet Kyoto commitments are shifting to wood and other biomass for heat and electricity production, as well as chemicals and manufacturing processes.

"On top of that, the pulp and paper industry is undergoing a planned fivefold expansion and China has a very rapidly expanding wood products industry. The scale of demand for wood to satisfy all of these demands can only be met by further deforestation and by enormous industrial monocultures of fast-growing trees. The biotechnology industries are racing to genetically engineer both trees and microorganisms for these uses. Next month at the Convention on Biological Diversity, civil society organizations will be asking for a moratorium on the commercialization of GE trees because of the potential risks of contaminating native forests."

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Etiquetas: , ,

Organic agriculture and localised food

How organic agriculture and localised food (and energy) systems can potentially compensate for all greenhouse gas emissions due to human activities and free us from fossil fuels

“Most compelling! A succinct and pithy appraisal of the current state of the planet - and just the right resolutions.”

Sir Julian Rose , a leading exponent of organic farming, Chair of the Association of Rural Businesses

“This excellent and timely report makes clear how vital it is that we make the right choices on how to produce and distribute our food in tackling climate change, and what those choices should be.”

Dr. Caroline Lucas , Member of the European Parliament


  • The largest single study in the world in Ethiopia shows composting gives 30 percent more crop yields than chemical fertilizers
  • Scientists, too, find organic out yields conventional agriculture by a factor of 1.3, and green manure alone could provide all nitrogen needs
  • Local farmers in Sahel defied the dire predictions of scientists and policy-makers by greening the desert and creating a haven of trees
  • Organic urban agriculture feeds Cuba without fossil fuels
  • Organic agriculture and localised food systems mitigate 30 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and save one-sixth of energy consumption
  • Anaerobic digestion of farm and food wastes in zero-emission food and energy farms could boost total energy savings to 49.7 percent and greenhouse gas savings to 54 percent
  • Cleaner, safer environment, greater biodiversity, more nutritious healthier foods
  • Higher income and independence for farmers, more employment opportunities
  • Regenerate local economies, revitalize local, indigenous knowledge, create social wealth.


Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and it is accelerating, says the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, released 17 November 2007. Eleven of the past twelve years are among the warmest since records began. Sea levels are rising faster than predicted. Heavy rains, droughts and heat waves are more frequent, and happening over larger areas of the globe. Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh two days earlier leaving a death toll of more than 10 000 and rising, a dramatic enactment of the “increase in intense tropical cyclone activity.”

It will be much worse as the century progresses, IPCC predicts, and has “very high confidence” that human activities are to blame, most of all, in burning fossil fuels. The annual growth rate of CO2 in the atmosphere has jumped from an average of 1.4 ppm a year since 1960 to 1.9 ppm over the past ten years.

The good news is we can do a lot to mitigate global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. IPCC tells us that keeping CO2 levels down to the most stringent levels will cost less than 0.16 percent of Global GDP a year up to 2030. Surprisingly, however, IPPC has failed to mention organic agriculture or sustainable food systems in mitigating climate change.

That is why Food Futures Now is so timely. It documents how organic, sustainable agriculture and localised food (and energy) systems can potentially compensate for all greenhouse gas emissions due to human activity and free us entirely from fossil fuels. It is a unique combination of the latest scientific analyses, case studies on farmer-led research, and especially farmers' own experiences and innovations that often confound academic scientists wedded to outmoded and obsolete theories. There is a welcome mix of practical know-how and new theoretical concepts to put things in the broadest perspective.

This volume is the second report of ISIS' “Sustainable World Initiative”, launched April 2005, to “make our food system sustainable, ameliorate climate change and guarantee food security for all.” We produced the first report, Which Energy? [1] in 2006, when it became clear that sustainable energy use is also a key issue, as fossil energies are depleting and demand for unsustainable “biofuels” is threatening food security and accelerating climate change. In that report, we made 18 recommendations for a mixture of renewable energy options at the medium, small, and micro-generation levels, including biogas from anaerobic digestion of biological wastes, solar and wind power. We ruled out nuclear energy, any energy-intensive extraction of fossil fuels or carbon capture and storage process that extends our dependence on fossil fuels, and energy crops for biofuels (unless they are shown to be truly sustainable).

We also recommended organic, low input sustainable farming for mitigating climate change, especially integrated food and energy production, with emphasis on the use of local resources, and consumption at the point of production.

The present volume is an extended, in-depth argument for this option, also touching on the transformation of the dominant knowledge system it entails.

I hope everyone will read it, policy-makers and citizens alike, scientists, farmers and the general public. Food Futures Now is a manual for social revolution to a post-fossil fuel economy that will restore the good life to all.

Mae-Wan Ho

February 2008

READ MORE: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/foodFutures.php

Etiquetas: ,

martes, abril 22, 2008

Responsible soy = corporate greenwash

> Press Release:
> Over 200 organisations from North and South condemn Roundtable for Responsible Soy as 'corporate greenwash'
> 22nd April, For immediate release
> Tomorrow, 23rd April, the Third Roundtable for Responsible Soy Conference will be opening in Buenos Aires, a city currently shrouded in smoke from nearly 300 fires linked to soya expansion. The Argentinean Interior Minister has confirmed that most of the fires are the direct result of high soya prices. Argentina's current fires come just six months after the worst ever fires in Paraguay, which were also linked to soya expansion, and which extended into northern Argentina, Bolivia and southern Brazil. Earlier this year, the Brazilian government confirmed a significant increase in fires and deforestation in the Amazon basin, also linked to high soya prices.
> The civil society declaration against the Third Roundtable for Responsible Soy (RTRS) warns "agribusiness is responsible for the devastation of our soils, deforestation, contamination of rivers and aquifers, biodiversity loss, and the plunder the natural and cultural heritage which once supported our communities". It stresses that the soya industry is inherently unsustainable and warns that that any certification of 'sustainable soya' will be nothing other than 'corporate greenwash'. Other coalitions, including the Global Forest Coalition and Friends of the Earth International, have also rejected the process of the Roundtable for Responsible Soya. Several UK companies, including Greenergy International, BP, Marks and Spencer and Somerfield are members of the RTRS.
> Jorge Rulli of the Argentinean Grupo de Reflexion Rural states: "The smoke in from the fires is choking Buenos Aires and creating a sense of 'apocalypse now' suitable for the opening of the Roundtable for Responsible Soy. With the soybean prices at $500 per ton, the oilseed is like a bulldozer which takes away everything: Territories preserved for their value for tourism, livestock, thousands of beehives. Everything is burning in the great fire of the new gods of the global market. Once again, the smoke in Buenos Aires demonstrates that soya monocultures are responsible for death, fires and devastation."
> Almuth Ernsting of Biofuelwatch, UK, warns: "The RTRS plans to certify 'sustainable soya' is a dangerous attempt at making the expansion of soya, including for biofuels, politically acceptable. The British government and the European Union are using such roundtables in order to push through policies which will greatly expand the biofuel industry and thus Europe's demand for soya. Instead of greenwash, we need real demand reduction for soya, which means an EU moratorium on agrofuels and policies which end Europe's unsustainable consumption rates of meat and dairy and our reliance on soya imports for animal feed. We call on those NGOs which have joined the RTRS to resign their membership."
> In Paraguay, some 9,000 rural households a year are being displaced by soya, and some 200,000 rural families in Argentina have already lost their land for the same reasons, and many of them have been violently evicted. Soya monocultures, many of them GM soya, are linked to high food prices and the loss of food sovereignty, to high agrochemical use which causes serious health impacts, including deaths, biodiversity losses, high greenhouse gas emissions and the pollution of water and soil. They are also linked to severe soil erosion and freshwater depletion which is threatening to turn some of the world's most fertile land into desert.
> Contact:
> UK: Almuth Ernsting, Biofuelwatch +44 (0)1224-324797 or +44 (0)7925 364186
> Argentina: rtierra@infovia.com.ar, Tel. +54 220 4773 545
> Paraguay: javierarulli@yahoo.com, Tel.+59521 451217
> Notes:
> 1. For a copy of the declaration against the Third Roundtable for Responsible Soy, and for a list of signatories, see:
> http://www.lasojamata.org/node/110 .
> 2. The global RTRS Conference is entitled "Responsible Soy: Food, Feed and Fuel to a Future world". Members include soy agribusiness groups, biofuel and oil companies, finance institutes and a number of NGOs, including WWF and Conservation International. For a list of members, and official documents of the RTRS, see http://www.responsiblesoy.org/ .
> 3. A satellite image of the fires in Argentina, taken on 18th April, can be found at
> http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/natural_hazards_v2.php3?img_id=14789&src=map
> 4. For a copy of the Global Forest Coalition's press release about the RTRS, see http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/connections.php?ID=109 .
> 5. For more information about the impacts of soya monocultures, see
> www.lasojamata.org/ .

Etiquetas: ,