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In the last week of January, the environmentalist movement, together with peasant organizations and other social actors of Costa Rica achieved a new success in their struggle against GM crops in that Central American country.
The Constitutional Sector decided to suspend the permit granted by the Ministry of Agriculture to growing GM seeds in Guanacaste, giving a response to the measure promoted by several peasant, environmentalist, indigenous and citizen organizations worried about the effects of genetically modified seeds in that territory.
Agronomist Fabián Pacheco, representative of the environmentalist movement in the National Technical Biosafety Commission, the body in charge of assessing the authorization of GM crops, talked to Real World Radio about the mobilizations that took place in the past four months about this.
Several native maize festivals, marches and other demonstrations took place during this time, said Pacheco in an interview with Henry Picado, of Coecoceiba-FoE Costa Rica.
Pacheco said that this is one of the most important campaigns in the history of social environmentalism in Costa Rica.
“Today, 31 cantons –of 81 in the country- have been declared free from GMOs”, said Pachecho to illustrate the discussions, debates and information that has taken place in his country around this issue. “There was a deep increase of literacy rates” that enabled a debate about a 15-year moratorium on GM crops in Costa Rica.
The main species of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that have entered Costa Rica are maize and pineapple.
Pacheco made reference to his hope over the increasing awareness on the Costa Rican population of the essential value of its environment and its phytogenetic resources. “I’m filled with hope that so many people want to wake up and give a sacred value to food. "
In addition, he compared the agri-food system led by transnational corporations as a “genetic factory” where the inputs produced by those industries are assembled, and traditional knowledge and native seeds are lost.
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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