The seeds of evil
The multinational currently produces three corn seeds that it markets in Argentina. One is the MON810 Corn, a seed to which transgenic genes have been grafted through bombardment with microparticles, making the plants that are generated from these seeds, while they are alive, in many of their cells secrete a protein toxic to lepidopteran insects (butterflies ) that attack these crops: it is the Bt toxin, from the bacillus thuringiensis (a bacillus from the soil and that naturally produces this protein-toxin to be able to compete with worms, also from the soil, since both groups feed on organic waste from soils), in the environment there are naturally tiny amounts of these Bt toxins produced by bacilli. MON810 maize contains, among other implanted genes, genes that make it resistant to antibiotics commonly used in human medicine (resistance to aminoglycocides) used as markers of the handling process. The European Union prohibited the entry of these seeds into its territory in 2004, through art. 2 of Directive 18/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Executive Council of March 12, 20011 for being a threat to public health (the Argentine Ministry of Health seems to have never realized this). At the same time, many European countries denounced the environmental impact that these poisonous corn plants generate, by secreting insecticides (such as the Bt toxin) all the time they are vital, as if they were a permanent plant of insecticides; causing an impact on biodiversity much greater than that generated by sporadic spraying with insecticides, which exert their poisonous effects for 2 or 3 days after application, while the secretion of the toxin by the plant lasts several months and its effects on the environment as well.
Recently, Canadian scientists have detected the Bt toxin in the umbilical cord blood of newborn children and in the blood of pregnant women, confirming the vast contamination generated by this type of culture. It must be recognized that this toxin is not harmless to humans, so medical concern is increasing2.
In Argentina MON810 corn is known as MaízGard® (MG) and has been used since 1998, marketed by the Monsanto Dekalb firm. In 2004 Monsanto introduced a glyphosate resistant corn. It is the NK603 Corn known here as Roundup Ready Corn 2. This seed allowed to spray with glyphosate the corn crops and also the neighboring rural population of the crop, with the consequences already known, especially by the residents of Bº Ituzaingo de Córdoba. The advantage of this seed is that the corn crops can be fumigated with glyphosate so that no plants grow between the rows, so the corn would grow strong and high without competition from the sun, water or soil nutrients. But glyphosate is not non-toxic as Monsanto still claims, nor can you take a full glass of Roundup as proposed by the Minister of Science and Technology of the Nation Lino Barañao, glyphosate causes cancer, malformations and is an endocrine disruptor3. An independent long-term biological safety test of this NK603 maize was even published recently in mice, and the cancer rate in animals fed this Monsanto maize and glyphosate was much, much higher than that of the group of animals. fed organic (normal) corn 4.
Monsanto's new mutant corn
In August 2012, the national government approved new seeds manipulated by large biotechnology and pesticide companies, including one from Monsanto and Dow: MON89034 x TC1507 x NK603 corn. This is an improved version of Bt corn (MON810), the one that generated a toxin that permanently killed some insects that were harmful to the crop. Now the new maize mutant not only generates one Bt poison but also synthesizes three, three different toxins, which are secreted all the time. The new corn (if it can still be called that) is capable of killing all kinds of butterfly caterpillars and worms that try to nest in their husks, leaves or spikes, and now it is also capable of exterminating San Antonio vaquitas, a beetle that usually nests in its root (according to official announcements).
This new corn, which President Fernández de Kirchner announced during her meeting with Monsanto leaders in June 2012 in Washington, USA, would be commercially called: “ Intact”.
It will also remain intact under the rain of glyphosate, for which it has two grafted genes foreign to the corn genome, which will give it the ability to survive that toxic cloud. It will also be resistant to a second herbicide: glufosinate ammonium that will begin to rain on the 12 million people who live in the country's GM crop areas. As wild plants are showing resistance to glyphosate (weeds grow between the rows of transgenic corn), an attempt is now being made to add another herbicide to the mixture of pesticides applied to the crops, in this case glufosinate, no less toxic than glyphosate).
The new and poisonous corn that Monsanto will grow in San Luis and prepare in Malvinas Argentinas will generate levels of pollution and environmental damage never imagined.
To think that many developed countries reject corn that produces a single Bt toxin, and we authorize and will grow a corn that has three Bt poisons, whose impact is unknown and that was authorized by CONABIA and SENASA based on the principle of substantial equivalence of transgenic with organic; equivalence that they hypothetically imagine, but do not prove, and affirm as real with reckless irresponsibility (Resolution No. 382/2012, Ministry of Agriculture of the Nation) 5. Intacta, Monsanto's new mutant corn, will mean a further escalation in the race to increase the amount of herbicides our fields are washed with; Today Argentina consumes 280 million liter-kg of glyphosate per year, glufosinate will accompany it quickly, contributing its own and recognized toxicity in humans; and reality will show how false the argument that these genetic manipulations reduce the use of pesticides; We are not reducing pesticides, we are incorporating new ones6. National experience shows that since RR soy was approved, the consumption of agricultural poisons has not stopped growing; with poisons it is impossible to prevent nature from penetrating the extensive monocultures with plants (weeds) and insects that adapt to pesticides; This fight against nature is only suitable for biotechnology companies that invent a false and harmful solution every year to sustain their business, extensive monoculture is unsustainable. In addition, Intacta has the advantage, for Monsanto, of being a hybrid, nobody will be able to save it to re-sow it because it no longer grows; it will inevitably contaminate other neighboring maize crops genetically and multinational companies will collect genetic property rights from producers; nothing will be as before. This corn is not recommended for human food, in a short time it will not be able to become porridge or locro, cornstarch or polenta, this is a corn supposedly intended for animal fodder, although in the United States and Europe the claim is becoming stronger. against these “foods” due to the large number of animals that abort their young or have poor performance7. In a short time it will be recognized that this mutant corn will only serve to generate biofuel.
San Luis: Monsanto's GMO Sanctuary
To generate these seeds, conventional crosslinking of different species of transgenic maize is carried out, interspersing lines or grooves of seedlings of different characteristics. As corn is open-pollinated and anemophilous, prone to outcrossing, it requires pollen from another plant; It is intended that the species interbreed and thus generate the new maize, accumulating the genetic characteristics of the precursors. This process requires a very tight control and few possibilities of genetic contamination by other crops.
Monsanto found the ideal sanctuary to reproduce its transgenic poison corn seeds in the Conlara Valley in northern San Luis. In this area surrounded by mountains there is a very stable and predictable climate, with little rainfall that can alter the reproduction of corn, adequate wind and above all a controlled environment. This area has underground water of sufficient quality and quantity, from the very rich underground aquifer of the valley that is 60 or 150 meters deep. The State of San Luis offers enough electrical power to run the huge extraction pumps that supply water to huge pivot irrigation systems ranging from 600 to 900 meters in length.
Quality access and communication routes and even an international airport for Monsanto executives and technicians who come from the US, have already been built by the government of San Luis.
As the aquifer extends northward, penetrating Córdoba, to the west of Villa Dolores, there, too, Monsanto would be leasing fields previously seized by the firm Cresud, an expert in real estate speculation.
The production of seeds requires intensive manual labor (especially deworming), there are times when some inflorescences or tassels (spikes) of a plant line have to be extracted manually and this work is done by more than 2500 swallow workers per year, precariously hired seasonally to work in 17,000 ha according to some calculations (in San Luis, Bs As, Córdoba and now extending to Catamarca). The episodes of human trafficking and slave labor that commit Monsanto in the Province of Bs As, which harm human dignity, are public. It also emerged that the labor exploitation of multinational seed and cereal companies, such as NIDERA, PIONEER, MONSANTO, and the national DON MARIO, is carried out through another multinational: MANPOWER, and its subsidiary RURAL POWER: supplier of temporary workers who are recruited in provinces of the northwest or in Bolivia (as an example is Mr. Emilio Jimenez, delegate of these “slave” agencies in Atamisqui, Santiago del Estero. Around 300 dispatched plants generate a bag of corn seeds (between 60 and 80 thousand seeds necessary for planting one hectare), the bags are sold for between 100 and 150 u $ s and the labor cost is 2 u $ s, the economic exploitation is abysmal8, without considering the risks to the worker's health for which no one is responsible, least of all the social work of the accomplice of the rural laborers' union It is noteworthy that a bag of corn grains, not for seeds, has a price of 80 to 100 pesos and the bag for seeds It costs more or less the same but in dollars.
The work is hard and with great risks of contamination, physical and chemical efforts cannot be spared in the production of seeds. Young people in the area have already had their experiences of severe headaches, vomiting, breakdowns, seizures, etc. and they reject job offers in seedbeds.
These fields receive pesticide applications much more intensively than corn crops for forage. Nothing should alter the possibility of generating the most optimal seeds and in this way the exposure of the operators, as well as the population of the Conlara Valley, is extreme. Most of the applications are carried out by air, according to the doctors of the Valley, the dispersion of the poisons is maximum and uncontrollable and the cases of cancers and children with congenital malformations multiply. In conclusion, the INTACTA seed, Monsanto's new mutant corn, which will be grown in San Luis and will be prepared in the Malvinas Argentinas, is a real threat to human health and the general environment of our country. Corn is the food that allowed humans to progress through 7000 years in America, its seed is now converted through biotechnology into a serial killer capable of withstanding the combined rain of poisons in systematic aerial or ground fumigations, which will kill all plants close to the crop except the new mutant; and it will also be a permanent plant for insecticidal toxins whose environmental consequences on our delicate ecological-sanitary balance (remember the 2009 dengue epidemic) will be irreparable. With this information base, the immediate application of the precautionary principle of environmental legislation should be triggered and the Monsanto Intact project stopped.
Intact soy and corn and markets closed
Monsanto has also developed an Intact soybean seed with similar “aptitudes” as corn, the Intact soybean was also authorized by the national government with the same lack of certainty. It is not yet commercialized and it is planted massively because it has no market; In other words, international buyers, especially China, do not accept it as a product and the company's lobby on the Chinese government is extremely intense at the moment. Once accepted by China and other Asian countries, Brazil and Argentina began to intensively sow Intact corn and soybeans and consequently to also intensively fumigate their rural populations with glyphosate and glufosinate.
The falsehoods of the necessary-need to move forward with the Monsanto Intacta project
The supposed higher yield of transgenic crops
The proclaimers of biotechnology and the massive use of pesticides support their "convictions" that the increase in grain production in the last 15 years is sustained by these products, however independent evaluations by researchers, especially North Americans, deny it. Even official statistics for more than a decade in the United States (by far the largest producer of GM crops globally) show that on average, GM crops produce less than conventional crops, and that together, they use much more pesticides. But the most significant piece of data is that the total increase in corn yield in those years across the United States was 13 percent, and 75-80 percent of the increase was due to non-GMO varieties and production approaches. Summarizing: If GMOs had not been planted in the United States, total corn production would have been higher. Why did farmers in the United States and Argentina continue to plant GMOs even though they have lower yields and the seed is more expensive? They had no other option: transgenic transnationals (which are also the largest sales of pesticides) in turn control most of the market for other commercial seeds, which must be multiplied each year for their sale. The companies only multiply those they want to sell, which are transgenic, because they increase the dependence of the farmer, increase the sale of their pesticides9,10.
The alleged lack of food to meet global demands
The second argument appeals to collective morality, to the need for us to "sacrifice" ourselves by increasing food production because the world "is" hungry. The FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization) announced as early as 1986 that enough food was produced for the entire world population11 and from that year on, food production permanently exceeded the growth of the world population. But it is clear that many millions of people continued to go hungry.
In 2011 the UN announced that the world population reached 7,000 million inhabitants and that of all of them 1,000 million are hungry; but it also showed that 1.5 billion people are obese, that the propaganda of the food market induces to eat too much and badly, very badly. Simultaneously, the FAO reported that currently 1.3 billion tons of food are thrown away without consuming, which could cover the needs of two billion people12, 13. The persistence of hunger is because there are people who cannot pay for their food; food is distributed through a capitalist market controlled by large multinational groups led by Monsanto; There is no shortage of food worldwide, hunger is a consequence of the inequity of the system; the increase in grain production with the consequent destruction of nature (water, soil, biodiversity), appropriation of land, evictions of peasants, extermination of native peoples, concentration of wealth, etc. it is only founded on the quest to maximize the profits of the food groups, their local partners and partner governments. That is, there is no excess food, it is poorly distributed, because the food market does not seek that everyone can eat, its exclusive objective is to earn money. This Monsanto mutant and poisonous corn project will cause serious direct environmental and health consequences to the Conlara Valley in San Luis, where the seeds were grown, and to Malvinas Argentinas in Córdoba where a Monsanto factory will condition the seeds. And indirectly it will accentuate the dependence on monopolically controlled inputs, it will poison huge areas of our country with new poisons (glufosinate and Bt toxins), affecting the health of rural populations and deteriorating biodiversity. Malvinas Argentinas, a humble working town near the City of Córdoba, characterized by its shortcomings and the dignity of its inhabitants, does not deserve to become the factory of this fearsome poisonous corn. The history of Monsanto factories around the world only refers to contamination, pain and death; We do not want that for Malvinas Argentinas and we do not want it to be an accomplice to this macabre business promoted by Monsanto and the governments of the national, provincial and municipal states, dazzled by short-term extractivist productivism.
The Conlara de San Luis Valley is a heavenly place, between the Comechingonas mountain ranges to the east and the central mountain ranges to the west, with a tourist tradition and peasant communities that preserved the rich characteristics of the Valley's nature. The government of San Luis began to install the necessary infrastructure for it to be exploited by Monsanto when they confirmed the richness of the aquifer there. To imagine the future of the valley, you have to know how the places where Monsanto settled in the US, Europe, or Asia were. We don't want that fate for Conlara ..
1- DIRECTIVE 2001/18 / EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 12 March 2001 on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms and by which Directive 90/220 / EEC of the Council is repealed. http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2001:106:0001:0038:ES:
2- Dangerous toxins from genetically modified corn found in the blood of women and fetuses. http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=en&tl=es&js=n&prev=_t&hl=es&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Farticles.mercola.com%2Fsites%2Farticles%2Farchive% 2F2011% 2F10% 2F06% 2Fdangerous-toxins-from-gmo-foods.aspx% 3Fe_cid% 3D20111006_DNL_art_3
3- Glyphosate is not salted water. http://www.reduas.fcm.unc.edu.ar/el-glifosato-no-es-agua-con-sal/
4- Long-term toxicity of Roundup and genetically modified corn to resist Roundup http://www.reduas.fcm.unc.edu.ar/toxicidad-a-largo-plazo-de-roundup-y-del-maiz -genetically-modified-to-resist-roundup /
5- Resolution No. 382/2012, Ministry of Agriculture of the Nation. http://www.boletinoficial.gov.ar/Content/Xml/Avisos/01/2012/07/25/4355432.xml
6- We are not eliminating agrochemicals, we are introducing new ones. A. Carrasco. http://www.puntal.com.ar/v2/article.php?id=100501
7- The effects of glyphosate (Roundup®) on soils, crops and consumers: the new diseases in corn and GM soybeans and in animals fed with them. http://www.reduas.fcm.unc.edu.ar/los-efectos-del-glifosato-roundup-en-suelos-cultivos-y-consumidores-nuevas-enfermedades-en-maiz-soja-gn-y- animals-fed-with-them /
8- Rural overexploited. AGRICULTURAL WORK IN CONDITIONS OF SERVICE http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/suplementos/cash/17-5011-2011-03-06.html
9- GMOs, do they produce or not? http://www.reduas.fcm.unc.edu.ar/transgenicos-producen-o-no/
10- Crops with Genetically Modified Organisms do not have better yields http://www.reduas.fcm.unc.edu.ar/evaluando-la-contribucion-de-los-rasgos-geneticamente-modificados-al-rendimiento-de- the-crops-% C2% BFadoption-or-alternatives-for-agricultural-policy / 11-Stauber JC, Fonti D, Heinzmann M . Hybris. Interdisciplinary studies on environment and food production. Bioethics Center of the Catholic University of Córdoba Editorial of the UCC. 2012-09-14
12- - Global food losses and food waste. FAO-UN Düsseldorf, Germany. 2011 http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/mb060e/mb060e00.pdf
13-1300 million tons of food is thrown away. http://www.gastronomiaycia.com/2011/07/10/1-300-millones-de-toneladas-de-alimentos-se-tiran-a-la-basura/
Production: REDUAS Coordination Team
University Network of Environment and Health - Doctors of Fumigated Towns