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GMOs: the twilight of an empire

GMOs: the twilight of an empire

This was certified by a report from an NGO called ISAA (International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech applications), despite being an organization with a tendency in favor of biotechnology.

Since transgenic crops began - 20 years ago - they have always had sustained growth, except in 2015, which - according to ISAA - fell by 1%. This figure does not seem significant, however considering that in recent years in the world this type of crops reached 2,000 thousand hectares, it is.

Everything seems to indicate that the heyday of these biotech packages is over and that the resistance of millions of people is having an effect ...

Everything seems to indicate that the heyday of these biotech packages is over and that the resistance of millions of people is having an effect, and not only that, but the rejection of the land itself is also causing significant losses to an unnatural model.

The reasons for the decline

According to ISAA, this "marginal" reduction is temporary and could be explained by the collapse of certain agricultural raw materials such as corn (-4% in surfaces) or cotton (-5%). Also this decrease "is likely to be reversed when the price level is reversed."

In the United States, the leader with 39% of the world total, the areas of genetically manipulated or transgenic (GMO) crops fell by 2.2 million hectares, while in Canada, the fifth largest producer in the world, they also fell by 0.6 million hectares, according to the report.

The strongest decrease was in the South African territory, in this case 23% due to severe droughts.

Without going any further, in the province of Santa Fe (Argentina) millions of hectares of soybeans were lost due to the recent floods. Although no one wants water to be a threat rather than an essential resource, in this case Mother Earth made herself heard.

On the other hand, the country of Burkina Faso, the only country in West Africa to convert to biotech agriculture since the 2000s, completely renounced transgenic cotton, evoking its lack of profitability.

Another reason why large multinationals like Monsanto are backing off their investments in developing countries is “costly regulation, which continues to be the main impediment to its adoption, according to the report.

Also, of course, although the report did not mention it, there is the resistance of ordinary citizens who refuse to implement the plants, such as the case of Malvinas Argentinas, province of Córdoba, where for more than two years the assembly members held a blockade at the Monsanto plant in said town in rejection of its authorization.

Despite the resistance, there are five developing countries - Brazil, Argentina, India, China and South Africa where almost half (48%) of the world's GMOs are cultivated.

Seed patenting: another lost arm wrestling

Perhaps you did not see it in the mainstream media, but the multinational Monsanto will not be able to patent seeds in Argentina - as was its claim - because they are not an invention of the multinational, but of nature.

An unprecedented ruling by Chamber III of the National Chamber of Federal Civil and Commercial Appeals - dated November 26, 2015 - stops Monsanto's intention to charge an extra fee for its transgenic “developments”.

"The recombinant DNA molecule and the modified cells do not constitute an invention (of Monsanto) because they are living matter and pre-existing in nature [..]".

“The recombinant DNA molecule and modified cells are not an invention (of Monsanto) because they are living and pre-existing matter in nature. This genetic material has the ability to generate a complete plant and countries have the power to declare plants non-patentable ”, declared the ruling signed by judges Guillermo Alberto Antelo and Ricardo Gustavo Recondo.

“It is debatable that he can patent all the material simply because he has modified it; as it is indisputable that the author of a literary work does not become the owner of the language used in it by having registered it, ”he based the sentence on his rejection of Monsanto.

Although the final decision depends on the Supreme Court of Justice, it is undoubtedly a hard blow against biotechnology companies that intend to patent the seeds, which were their invention.

Monsanto makes money every time it sells a seed. But, when trying to patent, he also wants to charge on the grain produced (on the crops) and each time it is used as seed for the duration of the patent, which is prohibited by Argentine law.

For this reason, the transnational company requested that article 6 of the Patent Law (Decree 260/96) be declared "unconstitutional": "All kinds of living matter and substances pre-existing in nature will not be considered inventions."

Fortunately, the court ruling rejected the company's request and confirmed the validity of the regulations.

Why are transgenic "foods" produced?

According to its proponents, this technology is intended to increase crop yields, help solve the hunger problem and improve profitability. However, there are studies that show that GMOs do not yield more than natural crops and in turn are not used mainly as food but are exported to other countries to fatten livestock or make biofuels. In addition, they introduce pollutants to the environment and new risks for man, which continue to add up.

The interest and reason for being of any company is to make a profit, considering the place where it operates, society and the environment. However, these corporations intend to obtain income from patents on transgenics and at the same time exercise control over the global agro-food system to control the fundamental input: seeds.

In Argentina most of the agricultural area depends - to some extent - on GMOs and agrochemicals. However, dozens of environmental assemblies emerged throughout the country to raise awareness and resist this production model.

Worms Argentina


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