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By Verónica González
The argument of the multinationals (Singenta, Nidera, Monsanto) is that with soy, hunger is alleviated. These companies cause the change of product quality for quantity, work for unemployment and food security for technological dependence. GM crops have not contributed at all to reduce hunger and poverty in the world, on the contrary , have favored malnutrition, especially among children in poor regions.
Throughout the 90s, the cultivation of transgenic soybeans has spread in many countries. Monsanto's Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans, the most widespread transgenic crop in the world, does not perform better than conventional soybeans, as claimed by the multinational that promotes it. It is proven that these crops have a productivity between 5-10% less than conventional varieties. A report published on February 13, 2008, in Asunción (Paraguay) / Brussels (Belgium) reveals that the introduction of transgenic crops is causing an increase in the use of toxic pesticides in the main producers of biotech crops. In the US, data from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that RR crops have increased the use of glyphosate by 15 times, a herbicide that destroys primary organisms in ecosystems. This poses a serious threat to food chains and the communities that depend on them.
In Latin America, the main countries that produce RR soy have increased the use of glyphosate and resistance to this herbicide has developed in weeds. In Brazil, the use of glyphosate reaches 80%. In 2007 in Argentina, glyphosate-resistant weeds (aleppo sorghum) invaded more than 120,000 hectares. To be able to face them, it is estimated that about 25 million liters of other herbicides will be needed, which means an increase in production costs of between 160 to 950 million dollars per year. The GM crop industry, however, continues to misleadingly claim that GM crops reduce the use of pesticides and serve to eliminate poverty and hunger.
In Argentina, soybean cultivation has grown from 800,000 hectares to 13 million in the last seven years. The cotton industry has been dismantled and conventional cotton cultivation has been replaced by transgenic soybeans. Forests and savannas have also been cleared, as well as land dedicated to pastures or food crops such as sorghum, corn, sunflower or beans, to dedicate it to the production of RR soybeans, thus eliminating biodiversity, traditional cultivation and with it, the production of food for the Argentine population. GM soy also depletes soil fertility because, as a legume, it provides a minimum supply of nutrients to the soil and, however, extracts twice as much as corn. In 2002, 30 million tons of soybeans ended up with 900,000 tons of nitrogen, 140,000 tons of sulfur and 200,000 tons of phosphorus. Phosphorus is a non-renewable substance and when it disappears from the soil it must be replaced artificially. This rate of malnutrition of the earth cannot last many more years.
Argentina is the second largest soybean producing country in the world, after the USA. 30% of what it produces is exported as grain and the remaining 70% in the form of oil and feed for animals in Europe and for human consumption in countries where there is no obligation to label transgenic products. Pressure from European consumers has managed to get the food industry to withdraw transgenic ingredients from its products or to label them, but the stronger pressure from the transgenic industry has managed to exclude products from animals fed with transgenics (milk and derivatives, meat and eggs). In this way, GMOs continue to be sold for human consumption in countries where there is no legislation that regulates it, even without being labeled, but in countries where there is regulation and labeling obligation, they also sneak into our dishes via food of animal origin.
Argentina currently produces feed to export food and feed the same amount of cattle that they produced before. From 1990 to 2002, twelve traditional farming establishments closed per day. In the north of the country, with the change from cotton to soy cultivation, 6 out of 10 people have lost their jobs and migrate to the cities where they receive, because they are unemployed, subsidies of 150 pesos per month (about € 36), that do not cover the basic family needs, they only feed for 10 days a month.
With the growth of the land area for soy cultivation, in the Chaco Region, both the land and the animals that inhabit it are being attacked. The latter, having less and less space to live in, abandon their areas and end up in danger of extinction, such as Tatú Carreta (documentary “Hunger for Soy.” Icaro Producciones, Marcelo Viñas and Jorge Casal in 2005).
The Chaco is a clear example of destitution, malnutrition and poverty caused by the cultivation of soybeans. In Resistencia, the capital of El Chaco, in the interior of the region, teachers have mobilized to denounce that students are starving to sleep in a country known for its massive food production. Until 2007, children ate in public schools in the area but, due to lack of budget, the centers stopped giving lunch and only give breakfast. Truancy has multiplied since then. Children go to community dining rooms where the main food is RR soybeans, exported to European countries exclusively for animal consumption and given away by multinationals to dining rooms. They eat soy 2-3 times a week. For the soy to be well cooked and not harm the body, it must be cooked for an hour but due to ignorance and the need to save energy, in these dining rooms it is cooked only a few minutes, which means that instead of nutrients, children are It provides trypsin, isoflavones, etc., being dangerous, especially for children under 2 years of age, because it does not provide iron, vitamins, zinc, calcium. Ideally, it should be taken from 2 years of age and as one more food.
It was never a food in the Argentine diet. The Argentine government does not control what they eat in soup kitchens, no analysis is done to measure the amount of glyphosate and endosulfan (insecticide) in the grain. In Europe it is marketed as feed for poultry and pigs, among other animals. The soy milk that they give to the population, extracted from so-called mechanical cows (vending machines), is by no means a complete food and causes malnutrition in children.
The argument of the multinationals (Singenta, Nidera, Monsanto) is that with soy, hunger is alleviated. These companies cause the change of product quality for quantity, work for unemployment and food security for technological dependence.
GM crops have done nothing to reduce hunger and poverty in the world, on the contrary, they have favored malnutrition, particularly among Argentine children in poor regions.
A single company, Monsanto, dominates with its technology 90% of the global area cultivated with GM crops and five companies manufacture practically 100% of the GM seeds on the world market.
Multinationals have patents obtained thanks to the effort and work of several generations of farmers who are now persecuted by large companies when they save or share the seed with their neighbors, on crops such as cotton, beans, soybeans, mustard or basmati rice. In several countries there are already farmers threatened or sued by Monsanto. This is the case with Canadian farmers Percy and Louise Schmeiser. The corporation's patented seed contaminated their plot. Although they did not sow this seed, the transgenic pollen flew from neighboring fields onto their plots and legally contaminated their crops.
The responsibility of FAO.
Research by FAO shows that small but biodiverse farms can produce much more food than large industrial crops. Diversity, in addition to providing more food, is the best strategy to prevent drought and desertification. However, the FAO report of May 17, 2004 (Rome) on the "State of Food and Agriculture of the World", demonstrated its discommitment to Food Sovereignty and the needs of the world's peasants. Instead of recommending the strengthening of the role of small-scale farmers in managing their agricultural diversity, FAO promotes the transgenic development of cassava, potatoes, chickpeas, millet and teff (a cereal similar to millet but of smaller seed and with bitter taste). And he claims that transgenic crops have provided enormous economic benefits for farmers and have served to reduce the use of pesticides. For this statement, FAO used studies carried out in India, by Monsanto itself in 2001, ignoring the information collected by farmers, governments and other researchers on the cultivation of Bt cotton.
The increase in this technology, as the FAO recommends in its 2004 report, will increase the monopoly control of multinationals over the planet's food reserves. Poor countries are forced to accept patents, contracts, and trade regimes that weaken their national capacity to fight hunger. Despite the fact that in 2000 the FAO was against the genetic sterilization of seeds, this report supported the use of “Terminator”, a technology that produces sterility in seeds preventing farmers from saving harvested seed and reusing it for sowing next, putting at risk the nutrition of 1.4 billion people who depend on the preserved seed of their harvest. FAO broke the commitment it had with NGOs and farmers' organizations and published this report without prior consultation.
FAO supports the intellectual property of multinationals despite the fact that genetic resources come from breeding work that farmers have done for thousands of years.
In the world considered "developed" and "advanced", plunged into enormous consumerism, 866 million people are totally illiterate, 2 million do not have electricity and 56 million people go hungry.
In the “underdeveloped” world, due to the development model of the rich countries, more than 1,000 million people live on one dollar a day and more than 3,000 million live on $ 2 a day. The lack of health care affects 2 billion and 20,000 people die every day from poverty. Two thirds of the population living in extreme poverty are under 15 years of age and 70% of the total are women and children. 80% of the world's population does not have access to basic forms of telecommunications. In Manhattan, New York City, there are more phone lines than in all of Sub-Saharan Africa and the mobile phone rate is 1 for every 3 people on the planet.
Coexistence with transgenics? no no and no!
NEITHER CONSUMED, NOR IMPORTED, NOR PRODUCED. PROHIBITION!
Before the "High-level meeting on Food security for all", chaired by Secr. Gral. Of the UN and the President of the Spanish Government:
Congress and Exhibition Palace of Madrid, Spain
Joan Miró Square (Castellana, 99)
Monday, January 26. 17.45 h
CAMPAIGN: IN DEFENSE OF FOOD SECURITY AND SOVEREIGNTY. FIGHT AGAINST HUNGER. THE FAO SOLUTION OR PROBLEM?
Read the MANIFESTO
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN AT: www.nodo50.org/lagarbancitaecologica/garbancita
LIST OF SIGNATORS UNTIL JANUARY 21:
SELF-MANAGED CONSUMER GROUPS (GAK's) FROM MADRID, LA GARBANCITA ECOLÓGICA (Madrid), COLECTIVO AGROECOLÓGICO CEFARES (Ecological Producers of Extremadura), SOCIAL FORUM OF SEGOVIA, ALGAMAR (Ecological Producers of Galicia), ASSI (Social Action and Internationalist Union - Zaragoza) , ECOMEDITERRÁNIA (Organic Producers of Valencia), ASOCIACIÓN CULTURAL CANDELA (Madrid), BIOPRASAD (Organic Producers and Processors of Catalonia), BIO NATURA (Organic Producers Catalonia), ASOCIACIÓN DE PRODUCORES ECOLÓGICOS NATURA BIO (of Aragon and Catalonia), AIGUACLARA (Producers and Agroecological Consumers of Valencia), ATENEO REPUBLICANO DE VALLEKAS, ENVIRONMENT SECTION OF ATENEO DE MADRID, ASOCIACIÓN DE CULTURA POPULAR ESTRELLA ROJA (Madrid), COLECTIVO CAMBALACHE (Oviedo-Asturias), UJUPC-MADRID, CAESO (Madrid) CONSUMPTION "LOS ESPIGADORES" (Mataelpino-Madrid), SOLDEPAZ-PACHAKUTI (Asturias), THE UNION OF FARMERS AND LIVESTOCK UNIONS (Spanish State), TRA PLATFORM NSGENIC ZERO (País Valencià), PLATFORM OF CITIZENS FOR THE REPUBLIC, PCE (ML), COLECTIVO DE CONSUMIDORES DE ABC (Madrid), (Argentina), FEDERAL AREA OF ECOLOGY AND THE IU ENVIRONMENT, ASOCIACIÓN STOP IMPUNIDAD (International Defense Human Rights ), ATENEO LIBERTARIO AL MARGEN (Valencia), RADIO VALLEKAS (Madrid), COORDINADORA ECOLOXISTA D'ASTURIES, ALTERNATURA: EL RINCÓN DE LOS CEREZOS (Extremadura), COLOMBIAN REFUGEES IN ASTURIAS "LUCIANO ROMERO MEDOLE POR SÍ ALTERNA SE PUERNA POR SÍ TENERIFE (Movimiento Ciudadano por la isla), LA TERTULIA CULTURAL PROJECT (Getafe-Madrid), AGROECOLOGICAL STUDIES GROUP (GEA), CRISTIAN CULTURAL ACTION (Madrid), MADRID UNESCO FRIENDS CLUB (CAUM), NEIGHBORS ASSOCIATION OF ZARZAQUEMADA (Leganés-Madrid), UNION OF FIELD AND RURAL WORKERS (SOC), COORDINADORA ECOLOGISTA Y VEÍNAL D'ALDAIA (Valencia), COORDINADORA SINDICAL DE IZQUIERDAS DE ASTURIAS (CSI), CENTRO DE ESTUDIOS INTERNALES Y DE AGAC IONAL (CERAI), ASOCIACIÓN CANARIA DE ECONOMÍA ALTERNATIVA, COLECTIVO MANOTERAS (Consumers Group-Madrid), PCPE, COLLECTIVO FEMINISTA LAS GARBANCITAS, ASSOCIATION ECOLOGIST LOBO CERVAL (Extremadura), ECOLOGISTAS EN ACCIÓN GRANADILLA (Extremadura).