“The only ones to benefit from GMOshave been the multinational biotechnology firms that patented them. Having conquered a growing slice of the global market for highly-monopolized seeds, their goal is long-term profits, indifferent to the impact on the environment, public health, or family agriculture.”
Monsanto in Brazil: Facing growing opposition from family farmers
and the courts.
By Marijane Vieira Lisboa ~ Brazil – Opera Mundi
In a contemporary remake of the Malthusian argument, the proponents of GMOs allege that they are necessary to ensure food to a world population on the rise in the context of ever-shrinking farmland.
Serving as a subsidiary argument is the theory that herbicide-tolerant, pesticide-resistantGMOs would avoid the use of greater quantities of pesticides, and that GMOs resistant to drought would allow for the adaptation of plants to the climate changes now underway.
If that isn’t sufficient, proponents still hang their hats on so-called “good GMOs” – plants that are “engineered” to provide greater amounts of vitamins, other vital nutrients, and even vaccines, resolving the problem of poor populations without access to food and medication.
But just as Malthus was defeated by history – because humanity today produces much more food than in the past, having grown at rates never anticipated – current demographic studies show a clear tendency of the planet’s population toward stabilization in the coming decades. First world countries today have diminishing populations, and even countries like Brazil show fertility rates below what is necessary to replace the population.
Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus: His theory about the limits of food production and the inevitable decline in populations have been dis-proven before. So why are biotech companies like Monsanto still defending themselves with Mathusian arguments?
(Video) Monsanto Mafia’: U.S. court backs GMO giant against farmers on seed patents
So what about the promised reduction in the use of pesticides? To the dismay of all who work in the public health sector, over recent years, Brazil has become the largest consumer of pesticides on earth. And the situation is likely to worsen, because due to the well-known development of pesticide resistance in invasive plants, glyphosate– the most widely-used pesticide with transgenic soybeans – is no longer effective.
The“solution” found by biotechnology companies are new GMOstolerant to 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, a relative of the herbicide Agent Orange, which was used by the North Americans in Vietnam. The National Biosafety Technical Commission is about to release genetically-modified soy and maize that are tolerant to 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid.
Finally, so-called “good GMOs,” which serve essentially a propagandist role, will be a hard sell. It has proven impossible to convince easterners to eat several bowls of “golden rice” every day, just as it doesn’t make sense for research to concentrate vitamins in certain foods, instead of trying to ensure the right of everyone to an adequate and balanced diet.
In addition to Brazilian agribusiness, the only ones to benefit from GMOs have been the multinational biotechnology firms that patented them. Having conquered a growing slice of the global market for highly-monopolized seeds, their goal is long-term profits, indifferent to the impact on the environment, public health, or family agriculture.
Ten years after the commercial release of GMOs in Brazil – Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready soybeans, thanks to a provisional measure from the Lula government – it is high time for the country to begin demanding serious scientific research to assess the harm GMOs have had on health, the environment, and family agriculture.
La Jornada, Mexico:Monsanto and DuPont-Pioneer Threaten Food Security in Mexico
Le Monde, France:U.S. Diplomats Force-Feed ‘Frankenfoods’ to Unwilling World
La Jornada, Mexico:WikiLeaks ‘Spills Beans’ on U.S. Push for ‘Frankenfood’
*Marijane Vieira Lisboa, sociologist, professor at PUC-SP, member of the National BiosafetyTechnical Commission, representative of consumer entities
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