Sunday, 9 March 2008

Big Bully says, "Disagreements...should be expressed in legal ways".

On March 7th about 300 Brazilian women raided a research unit of the agricultural biotech company Monsanto and destroyed an experimental field of corn. These facilities are located in Santa Cruz das Palmeiras, in Sao Paulo state.
The group of activists protested the Brazilian government's decision last month to give clearance for two varieties of GM corn for commercial use-MON810, produced by Monsanto and Liberty Link made by Germany's Bayer CropScience.

MON810 is the variety which has been banned in France after strong protests in that country.

The claim by Monsanto that small farmers could be among the most who benefit from biotechnology, is by now proven around the world to be disastrously misleading. (see previous posts).

Monsanto condemned the invasion by the Brazilian activists, saying in a statement "in a democratic regime, disagreements, ideological or not, should be expressed in legal ways". The problem with this rather hypocritical statement is that around the world we see that the takeover by biotech companies is impervious to the democratic process, because governments are approving the GM technology counter to public opinion. Big farmers, and governments are attracted by the financial and convenience factors of GM technology, but these are temporary advantages. GM farming involves loss of land and livlihoods for small farmers throughout the world. Even in Canada, US, and Europe, farmers have discovered that GM crops have not delivered on their claims, and pesticide use has had to be increased.

In Brasilia, a protest by another 400 women from an umbrella group, Via Campesina(the Rural Way) was held in front of the Swiss Embassy against Syngenta, A Swiss company that is selling genetically engineered seeds in Brazil. Via Campesina said in a statement that "no scientific studies exist that guarantee that genetically modified crops won't have negative effects on human health and on nature." A spokesperson for Via Campesina also said "The authorization of these varieties shows once more that (President Luiz inacio Lula de silva's) government favors agribusiness and bigforeign companies abandoning land reform and family farming"

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