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The use of agrotoxics produced by transnational corporations has reached alarming levels in Latin America. They represent the key element of the hegemonic agribusiness model in most of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Seeds are designed according to their needs. In this strong combination, capital grows at the expense of peoples’ health, the poisoning of water and soils, and the loss of biodiversity.
That is why in the latest Congress of the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations (CLOC-Via Campesina) held in Quito, Ecuador, in 2010, the creation of a permanent campaign to raise awareness about and fight against this poisonous technology was developed.
Two years later, in Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, the need and relevance of this decision was ratified by the over 300 delegates of the five regions of CLOC-Via Campesina at their Continental Assembly.
Real World Radio interviewed Cleber Folgado of the Movement of Small-Scale Farmers of Brazil and coordinator of a campaign that, even though it is still being developed, it has already achieved great progress and is one of the bridges between the peasant-rural platform and the urban populations, which are increasingly concerned about healthy food.
Folgado said that the campaign was created in order to expose the effects of this technology based on chemical supplies, herbicides and generic insecticides both on the final product and the consumer (peasants, rural workers that use it).
“The peasants of the world have a great capacity to produce without poison, which is something that is concealed by the current hegemonic model. Poisons are not a need, they are an imposition”, explained Cleber in an interview in Managua.
Confronting the “agro-poison” model implies reclaiming agroecology as the alternative to that model and in order to recover the peasant traditional knowledge within food sovereignty.
The campaign is focused on different aspects: communication, legal, mobilization, organization of people affected, academic research that is ethical to verify the effects of the agrotoxics industry.
Folgado mentioned that in Brazil the campaign has arisen interest in Parliament. The campaign was recently launched in Argentina, it is planned to be launched in Paraguay, Colombia and Chile. He said that in an upcoming meeting of the working group on the campaign, to be held in Sao Paulo, the agenda of the campaign in other Latin American countries will be updated.
Reaction and prospects
About the reaction of the agrotoxics industry, especially in Brazil, Clener Folgado spoke about an “academic criminalization” that has even attempted to prosecute researchers. Agribusiness companies have invested a lot of money in the media. “Six companies: Bayer, Basf, Monsanto, Syngenta, Dupont and Dow control almost 70% of the production, some of them also control seed production and they face problems with what they call “weed”. There is a reaction from nature to all that aggression and they know it. So they respond by taking institutional or legal actions, or by lobbying”, said Folgado.
The false promises of increasing yield, reducing production costs and preserving the environment, which aimed to justify the introduction of the green revolution “package”, have not been fulfilled.
Folgado recalls that transnational corporations like Monsanto have introduced GM seeds legally in several countries like Paraguay and Brazil and it claims that the campaign is on the alert for the possible introduction in Latin America of seeds that include new transgenes in their design, which are clearly associated with new poisons.
CLOC-Via Campesina will propose to the 6th Conference of La Via Campesina International to globalize the permanent campaign against the use of agrotoxics in agriculture and to promote an agroecological model as a real alternative to feed humanity and cool off the planet.
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