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“It is extremely important that movements and organizations around the world react against this attempt by the FAO to legitimize GMOs as a solution for third world countries”, said Silvia Ribeiro, researcher at the Erosion, Technology and Concentration Group (ETC Group) in Mexico and editor of Biodiversidad, sustento y culturas magazine.
The rapid reaction of the social movement was triggered by the Conference on Agricultural Biotechnologies in Developing Countries (ABDC-10) which is being held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from March 1st to March 4th. Promoted by the FAO, the conference is said to benefit the interests of transnational corporations.
Mexico´s government has been highly criticized. “Against the will of all peasants and civil society, and even against recommendations by scientists”, Mexico has authorized the cultivation of GM corn, affecting the foundations of economy and culture for more than 60 indigenous peoples.
“GMOs are in the hands of six transnational companies. When they are not controlling seeds directly, they control patents”, states Ribeiro. Only one of these companies, Monsanto, controls over 90% of the world market.
Monsanto is to agriculture what Bill Gates is to software. “This means giving the foundations of food to one transnational company”.
Ribeiro will be participating at the parallel activities organized by the Network in Defense of Corn, Via Campesina North America and the National Assembly of Environmentally Affected People from Mexico. From February 28th to March 3rd the event “GMOs steal our future” will take place.
“The FAO is talking of the need for biotechnology, not only in agriculture, but also in cattle farming, forests, fisheries. We believe this has to be denounced”, said the activist.
The main activities organized at the paralell event consist on testimonies to submit to international courts.
“Peasants, indigenous peoples but also scientists, activists, academics and lawyers will share their testimonies”, said Silvia. She adds: “the process to authorize the cultivation of GM corn was filled with irregularities which are ignored by the government”.
On the ABDC-10, Ribeiro said: “The FAO wants to legitimize with this conference several things. One of them is big industrial crops such as soy, corn and cotton. This is terrible”.
One example in terms of biotechnology that the FAO will present as successful is that of soy in Argentina. “This is terrible because everyone knows what this means from the environmental point of view, from the point of view of health”.
The Argentinian is a case of “reversed agrarian reform” where small producers and peasants are displaced. According to the FAO, the adoption of biotechnology packages will serve poor farmers to face the climate and food crises.
“Precisely to face the climate and food crises what is necessary is to strengthen family agriculture, peasant agriculture, diversity, and a great variety of seeds”, said Ribeiro.
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