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Friends of the Earth El Salvador focuses on the risks causes by the widespread use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in the country. For this reason a biosafety bill is being put forward in order to preserve peasant farming and the country’s genetic resources four years after GM seeds were approved in the country.
In response to the pressure on El Salvador’s administration over GM production, CESTA-Friends of the Earth El Salvador warns about the danger that GMO represent for peasant agriculture and biodiversity.
The Salvadorean environmental organization believes the use of GMO should be phase out, especially GM seed production, under any circumstances.
The negative effects of GM crops on human health, the environment and family economy have been verified. It also causes national agriculture production to lose its identity, says CESTA’s Director, Silvia Quiroa.
The risks of promoting GMO are high, said Quiroa. Besides, the assumption that GMO will solve food scarcity in the country has been proven to be false.
The warnings also call for urgent measures by the Salvadorean state such as the passing of a biosafety law that should ban the use of GM seeds and force companies to label all products containing GMO.
“There are many peasant families in our country that conserve a diversity of seeds from multiple species, colors and shapes, those are the seeds we need to preserve since they will ensure the sustainability of peasant production”, said Jose Acosta, responsible of programs at CESTA. He believes the peasants have been marginalized by public policies.
Instead of promoting GM seeds that only contaminate the environment and cause a great dependence on international corporations we should invest in peasant culture, which is being marginalized by social policies and in a series of benefits that should be provided to that sector, said Acosta.
He also claims that a legislation to protect the ecosystem is necessary. This depends on the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and on the Ministry of Livestock and Agrictulture.
Meanwhile, Edith Campos, of CESTA’s Food Sovereignty Program recalled in a press conference that the state institutions failed to take action when section 30 of the Seeds Law was repealed in 2008. This section banned the import, introduction, selling and distribution of GM seeds. The section was repealed to allow the introduction of GM seeds.
Monsanto carried out GM trials in the National Center of Livestock, Agriculture and Forestry Technology (CENTA), an area that is still contaminated and that the government has not been able to clean up.
For this reason it is important to have a biosafety law to say “no to GMO” rather than having a biotechnology law, since the Salvadorean state has forgotten so far about the Cartagena Protocol signed and ratified to regulate GM international trade through safety measures that suit the consumer, industry’s and environmental needs.
Finally Acosta highlighted the need to legislate on these issues by permanently banning such technologies.
Produced by Josefina Ramírez - Communications CESTA-FoE El Salvador
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