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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  October 2004

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE October 2004

Subject:

GMO's in Argentina: The "sustainable soy" hoax

From:

Carmelo Ruiz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 24 Oct 2004 06:36:20 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (515 lines)

--- Beth Burrows <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 08:31:23 -0700
> Subject: Correction - Declaration about Argentina -
> with footnotes>
> Reminder: Adolfo Boy sent the original declaration
> to the Edmonds
> Institute in Spanish. We translated the declaration
> and the translation
> appears below. Although we have questions about
> parts of the
> declaration, we are forwarding it unedited to those
> who have indicated
> a concern with the situation in Argentina. Please
> direct any questions
> you may have  to the email address indicated at the
> end of the
> declaration: <[log in to unmask]>.
>
> *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
>
> EUROPE ONCE AGAIN TO THE CONQUEST OF AMERICA. THIS
> TIME WITH LOCAL
> COLLABORATION.
>
>
> We call ourselves GRR, Rural Reflection Group, in
> relation to a
> proposal made by a conglomerate of NGOs and cereal
> and biotechnology
> companies from Argentina and Europe to implement a
> model of sustainable
> soya.
>
> Transgenic soya monocultures lead, inevitably, to
> depopulation of rural
> areas, increased deforestation, soil desertification
> and, therefore,
> more hunger among the population.  Companies, as
> well as important
> government officials, including the Agriculture
> Secretary, INTA (1),
> SENASA (2) and CONICET (3) are committed in the
> joint effort to
> elaborate a major national project on biotechnology
> that will bring
> increased dependence on the imposed model and
> greater dependence on
> inputs from transnational companies.
>
> This is a historic moment of special significance,
> when companies are
> openly proposing to increase the production from
> seventy million to one
> hundred million of grain for exporting.  This would
> require adding
> perhaps ten or more million hectares to the current
> 15 million of
> hectares of transgenic crops.  To achieve such an
> objective and, at the
> same time, avoid an ecological catastrophe or a
> social uprising, the
> companies and the government need the help of NGOs.
> This new stage
> that has already begun in Argentina, lead by WWF
> -with the first call
> for proposals to Fundación Vida Silvestre and with
> the attendance of
> FARN (4), Greenpeace, University of Buenos Aires
> Agriculture Department
> and several companies- has been dubbed “Sustainable
> Soya”.
>
> This new coalition emerges as a soya
> neo-colonization project.  In it,
> each actor contributes according to its own
> interests, but they all
> seem to concur on GMOs and on the role assigned to
> Argentina within the
> framework of globalization.  Some environmental
> organizations will seek
> to preserve the untouched areas of national parks
> and to negotiate the
> remaining areas by establishing guidelines and
> experts to avoid the
> collapse of ecosystems.  Public officials from
> scientific and
> technologic organizations will go after a naďve
> project on
> biotechnology -as is if it wasn’t already patented
> the last lab
> procedure-, and thus, placing the remains of the
> State in the service
> of transnational interests.  The agriculture
> producers will seek to
> secure their own piece of the pie, challenging the
> rent on the land and
> determined not to pay royalties over the seed, while
> seizing the
> opportunity to multiple their troops through calls
> for an “agrarian
> reform” that respects the soya model.  In the
> meanwhile, many urban
> labor leaders, totally blind to the model of
> transgenic monocultures,
> keep on boasting on better distribution of profits
> and on the need of a
> “distributive shock” that enables consumption to
> take off, while, at
> the same time, denounce messes and corruption -such
> as under billing in
> grain exports- suggesting that through increased
> taxes and customs
> controls it would be possible to raise enough
> resources to solve more
> pressing social problems.  The Rotary Club and
> Caritas continue, in the
> meanwhile, with their plans of installing
> “mechanical cows” (5) in
> hospitals and in areas of extreme poverty, as well
> as adding soy-based
> foods to indigent childrens’ canteen menus.  By
> doing that, the Rotary
> Club and Caritas contribute to legitimizing the
> model of genetically
> engineered monocultures among the poorest and, at
> the same time,
> establish a double standard in the people’s diet,
> standard in which the
> poor wind up with transgenic forage. Each and every
> one of those actors
> contribute to the model’s continuance; they are all
> responsible through
> positive action or omission and have become
> accomplices of the
> multinational companies that dominate our export
> market and that have
> turned our country into a forage “lousy little
> forage republic”.
>
> We need to restore our national dignity and denounce
> the soya model and
> the role of exporter of commodities and the
> biotechnological experiment
> that we have imposed upon ourselves.  We need to
> rebuild the State to
> take back charge of International Trade Comptroller
> office and
> reorganize the National Grain Commission so that we
> can impose minimum
> pricing for food intended for the tables of
> Argentineans -such as
> lentils, rice or dairy- that are no longer produced
> or that face a
> severe production crisis.  We need to go back to
> producing seeds,
> recovering our lost genetic patrimony and the basis
> of a different
> agriculture model, in which the proposed goals are
> food sovereignty and
> local development.
>
> We radically reject the paper issued by WWF last
> September in Gland,
> Switzerland, that with the title “Soy boom: doom or
> boon for South
> America’s forests and savannah”, presents us a model
> of “sustainable
> soya”. (6)
>
> We reject it because it represents attitude of
> resignation and
> acceptance towards the soya global model, a model in
> which
> transnational agribusiness comprises all phases of
> production and
> commercialization: from production and sale of
> seeds, distribution of
> pesticides, the harvesting, sowing and spraying
> machinery, to the
> domination of ports of export.  For Europe, such
> production of forage
> soya results in loss of food quality, the industrial
> production of beef
> with genetically modified forages and a further
> deterioration of rural
> life.  For the countries in South America, the
> commoditization model
> manifests itself brutally as a threat of soil
> desertification, collapse
> of the agricultural ecosystems and hunger for our
> peoples.
>
> We reject it because it ignores the social effects
> of soya -a crop that
> was never part of the Argentinean diet- as well as
> the fact that
> current monocultures are causing innumerable job
> losses and gigantic
> migration of rural populations to the big urban
> areas.  Also because
> the reports ignores that cattle ranching was pushed
> by soya to marginal
> areas and to floodable low lands and, worst of all,
> it ignores the
> feedlot corrals where the cattle, instead of being
> fed on pastures, are
> being fattened with grains –particularly soya- and
> by adding
> antibiotics and hormones.  Because it ignores that
> Argentina used to be
> one of the world’s largest certified organic
> producers, until an
> agriculture system based on agrochemicals and GMOs
> changed its profile
> in international commerce. It also ignores that
> organic corn can no
> longer be produced due to contamination.  And that
> Argentina’s honey
> has been displaced in international market due to
> chemical residues
> found in it.
>
> Because our country was once “the breadbasket of the
> world”; but now,
> thanks to soya, we have degraded into a lousy little
> forage republic.
>
> Because is naďve and unviable to think that the
> desertification risk
> can be lowered through the proposed rotation with
> cattle.  Over
> millions of hectares of monocultures the soya
> businessmen have
> destroyed fences, water dispensers and mills used
> for obtaining the
> farm’s drinking water.  The soya monoculture model
> has only one drive:
> lowering costs and increasing profits at the expense
> of natural
> resources.
>
> This model that has been put in place - an
> agriculture without farmers,
> with land concentration and with massive
> depopulation of rural towns -
> cannot be turned back by the means proposed in the
> paper.  In reality,
> the aim of WWF’s members is not to change the model,
> but instead, to
> enable its consummation in the largest agricultural
> territory without
> producing the expected and feared social uprising.
>
> Furthermore, WWF’s paper uncovers its cynical
> speculations when it
> states: “it is expected that the demand for soya
> export, to be used
> primarily as animal feed, will double within the
> next 20 years”.  By
> accepting an argument originated in a reality
> constructed by
> transnational corporations, WWF aims to sentence the
> entire south
> section of our continent to a role of nothing more
> than forage
> producers, without alternatives for defending our
> food security and
> food sovereignty.  WWF only takes into account the
> needs of the North,
> without looking into Argentina’s growing poverty and
> hunger.  The
> objective is to multiply the forage production
> capacity while
> preserving at least one section of the forests and
> ecosystems.
> Pretending make sustainable the growing soya
> production is, at best,
> naďve.
>
> WWF’s document states:
>
> “The study shows that it is possible to achieve
> higher production of
> soy without destroying nature”, said Matthias
> Diemer, Head of WWF’s
> Forest Conversion Initiative.  “The development of
> more intensive and
> efficient land use along existing roads and near
> important population
> centres will reduce the need to clear virgin
> habitats”. However, the
> report also stresses that for such a scenario to
> happen and work, soy
> producers, investors, buyers, and regulators will
> have to support,
> adopt, and promote more sustainable practices,
> including encouraging
> local governments to effectively enforce
> environmental and land-use
> laws and regulations.
>
> It would seem, truly, that the writers of the report
> have not checked
> what is actually happening in the field in Argentina
> in relation to
> soya.  One of the phenomena of extension of
> monoculture is its sweeping
> away of the greenbelts of big and small cities which
> -comprised of
> dairy, poultry and vegetable farms- used to not only
> be source of local
> food, but worked as buffer zones mitigating the
> impacts of agriculture.
>   Today, soya generally reaches the edges of towns,
> therefore the
> spraying of glyphosate, Paraquat and Endosulfan have
> a direct impact of
> the populations, resulting in countless cases of
> cancer, malformations,
> terminal illnesses, miscarriages, etc.  In many
> small villages
> surrounded by the green desert of soya, the spraying
> airplanes would do
> not bother to interrupt their spraying while flying
> over urban areas,
> putting the populations under the direct impact and
> terrible
> consequences of the herbicides.
>
> We are resolved to construct a notion of State
> within sovereignty and
> social justice.
>
> The only way out from the situation created by soya
> that our countries
> have, apart from a violent claim of land tenure
> after a social uprising
> caused by hunger and extreme poverty, would be the
> citizen’s decision
> to rebuild the State that has been destroyed during
> the Neoliberal era,
> and in such a rebuilt State, regulating
> international commerce
> –currently in the hands of transnational
> corporations, setting minimum
> prices for foods comprising the people’s food
> patrimony, encouraging
> production of seeds and promoting massive
> repopulation plans in
> currently empty areas, along with integrated local
> development programs.
>
> WWF’s sustainable soya proposals that we reject
> reflect the shameful
> collaboration attempt of environmental groups and
> NGOs from the First
> World with the big transnational corporations.
> However, such
> corporations need collaborators because they are
> mindful that their
> future is more and more uncertain and that the
> public is becoming
> increasingly aware of the threat that patenting of
> the seeds and of the
> food to which they are accustomed represents to
> their lives.
>
> WWF and other big NGOs in Europe as well in Latin
> America pretend to
> maintain the model, while setting some rules
> directed both to mitigate
> the model’s impacts and to moderate its unavoidable
> consequences.  We,
> on the contrary, as Rural Reflection Group have
> declared war on a model
> that manifests itself in monoculture, expulsion of
> farmer families,
> massive deforestation and land conversion,
> unsustainable,
> input-dependent agriculture systems that transform
> us in big factories
> where the populations live off the surplus and
> discarded materials.
>
> We are a massive experiment of biotechnological
> packages, a lab country
> for the biotech multinational corporations, a
> colonial Argentina.  We
> are determined to restore our food sovereignty and
> to rebuild a
> national project.
>
> The export triumphs of today’s Argentina are, at the
> same time, its
> greatest failure, because they deny the country’s
> healthy food
> producing tradition and because they condemn us to
> hunger and misery.
> But, in the same way that our country fails when it
> is no longer what
> it once was, when it is no longer itself, Europe
> should also be aware
> that when it imposes its forage compulsive
> extraction model to
> countries like Argentina, isn’t any longer what once
> was, it transforms
> itself in something else.  The globalized Europe
> that seeks to sustain
> its “Americanized” way of life by forcing us into a
> role of commodity
> supplier in order to pay an external debt that was
> imposed upon
> ourselves during the military dictatorship, at the
> cost of State
> Terrorism and thirty thousand missing people, in
> reality is no longer
> Europe, or perhaps is worst, the most sinister and
> perverse
> [manifestation] of itself.
>
> *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
>
> CRR – Rural Reflection Group
>
> October 11, 2004
>
> [log in to unmask]
> [log in to unmask]
>
>
> *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
>
> Footnotes:
>
> (1)  INTA: National Institute of Technological
> Agriculture.
>
> (2) SENASA: Agroalimentary Health and Quality
> National Service
>
> (3) ONICET: National Commission for Scientific and
> Technological
> Research
>
> (4) FARN: Environment and Natural Resources
> Foundation. English
> website: < http://www.farn.org.ar/en_index.html>
>
> (5)  Mechanic cow (vaca mecánica) is a term used in
> Argentina to refer
> to a domestically made piece of equipment for the
> production of soy
> milk and other soy-derived products.
>
> (6)  “Soy boom: doom or boon for South America’s
> forests and savannah
> is the title of WWF’s press release (dated September
> 3, 2004)
> announcing a study that had been commissioned by
> WWF’s Forest
> Conversion Initiative.  The name of the study is
> “Managing the Soy
> Boom: Two scenarios of soy production expansion in
> South America", by
> Jan Maarten Dros (June 2004). The press release can
> be found at:
> HYPERLINK
>
"http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/news.cfm?uNewsID=14910"
> *
>
http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/news.cfm?uNewsID=14910
>  A link
> to download the report can be found in the press
> release.  As stated in
> page 4, the study was “sponsored by the Coop
> Naturaplan Fund (
> HYPERLINK "http://naturaplan.coop.ch" *
> http://naturaplan.coop.ch )
> part of Coop Switzerland's commitment to sustainable
> soy”.
>
> *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
>
> forwarded (and translated by):
> The Edmonds Institute
> 20319-92nd Avenue West
> Edmonds, Washington 98020
> USA
> phone:(001) 425-775-5383
> email: [log in to unmask]
> website:<http://www.edmonds-institute.org>
>
>
>
>


=====
Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero
Director, Proyecto de Bioseguridad http://bioseguridad.blogspot.com/
Research Associate, Institute for Social Ecology http://www.social-ecology.org/
Fellow, Environmental Leadership Program http://www.elpnet.org/
Senior Fellow, Society of Environmental Journalists http://www.sej.org/

http://carmeloruiz.blogspot.com/



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