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"The Argentinian government is aiming to introduce changes into the Seeds Law in order to privatize seeds and to avoid what is, healthily, taking place here, which is that farmers can still produce their own seeds and exchange them".
These were the words of Argentinian farmer Juan Burba in an interview with Real World Radio. Burba is member of the Landless Rural Workers Union (UST) of Mendoza and the National Peasant Indigenous Movement of Argentina (MNIC), in turn member of the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations (CLOC-Via Campesina).
Burba was interviewed at the 7th Native Seed and Family Farming Festival held over the weekend in La Paloma, Rocha department; Uruguay, organized by the National Native Seed Network of the country. This edition of the festival focused on the need to protect local biodiversity and to advance towards an agroecological transition for food production.
Burba recognized that peasant families are concerned over the "offensive of transnational corporations around the continent that aim to modify seed laws", because corporate legal initiatives "criminalize us, and could even take away from us the possibility to produce food".
According to the MNCI and CLOC member, the law that is being promoted by the right-wing Argentinian government led by Mauricio Macri, with corporate lobby, implies that "farmers that take seeds from the seeds bought from companies have to pay royalties". "It even includes the possibility to provide para-police forces of companies with powers to enter the fields suspected of having the genetic material of the company in order to expropriate or burn crops", said Burba. "They are criminalizing an ancestral practice: seed companies have existed for 50 or 60 years, but agriculture -and the natural improvement and selection of seeds- has existed in the world for over 12,000 years", he said.
The farmer made reference to the excellent work carried out by the Native Seed Network of Uruguay and highlighted the scientific research conducted in the country that has detected GM maize contamination. He considered that in his country the situation is a lot worse because GM crops take up to twenty million hectares, compared with the 1 million hectare of lands planted with GM crops in Uruguay.
Imagen: Real World Radio
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