By Silvia Ribeiro
On October 16, World Food Day according to the United Nations, La Via Campesina was declared an international day of action for food sovereignty and against transnational corporations, a definition much more in line with reality, which defines what is really at stake . (see here) This year, in addition to actions in many countries, hundreds of organizations converge in the International Tribunal on Monsanto held in The Hague, Holland, whose testimonies and deliberations can be seen on the portal http: //es.monsantotr Tribunal .org /.
In the last year we have seen how the largest seed, fertilizer and pesticide corporations have merged in dimensions difficult to imagine. Still pending approval by antitrust authorities, if they succeed, there will be three mega-companies (Monsanto-Bayer, Syngenta-ChemChina and DuPont-Dow) that dominate more than two-thirds of those global markets.
Paradoxically, those companies that invented GMOs are now seeing their decline. Twenty years after the beginning of the commercial planting of transgenics, the ISAAA (institute digitized by biotechnology companies) recognized that the area of transgenics planted in the world is decreasing. It is a small percentage, but it sets a trend, with a million 800 thousand hectares less, according to figures from the industry itself, which are always happy. Despite adjusting the statistics in their favor over these 20 years, they could not hide that only 10 countries continue to have more than 98 percent of the area planted with transgenics. Five of them now decreased their planted area. In 20 years they recorded more than 70 genetically modified arable species, but there are still four commodities - soybeans, corn, canola and cotton - that represent 99 percent of the planting, almost all of it not for food, but for fuel and fodder.
GMOs are so discredited that the industry insists that crops manipulated with more recent biotechnologies are called genomic editing, trying to hide that it is genetic engineering and are another form of GMOs. Every time they talk about any of these technologies (such as Crispr-Cas9, Talen and others based on synthetic biology), they point out that now they are accurate and it is known which part of the genome they are modifying, admitting that with the previous transgenics they did not have –ni they have no knowledge or control of manipulation and that they have used us all as guinea pigs for their experiments.
Several testimonies from the Monsanto Court will show the devastating impact on public health and environmental pollution caused by the increase of up to 2000 percent in the use of pesticides in the areas where GM crops are grown. It is not a progression of the use of chemicals that already occurred with hybrids, but an exponential increase because they were seeds manipulated to tolerate pesticides, mainly glyphosate, which caused more than 20 invasive herbs to become tolerant to them.
The transgenics fail but the intentions of the companies remain intact; hence the mergers, new techniques, concealment maneuvers, in order to increase the control of farmers and consumers.
We already see the crest of the wave of the technological tsunami that has been brewing in years, towards a robotic agriculture, chondrons, GPS, satellite systems and digital applications to control from the portion of food for each cow or chicken locked up, to the doses of chemicals in each bush in large monocultures. Common to everything is that they propose to eliminate even more people from the field. According to Monsanto's Rob Fraley, they had been delayed: The entire agricultural industry is undergoing a major transformation. It is the last of the big industries to go digital, he declared shortly before accepting the merger with Bayer (see here).
In contrast, in Mexico, the suspension of the planting of transgenic corn continues, which has been going on for more than three years, thanks to the collective lawsuit of a group of citizens and organizations, while in the Yucatan peninsula soybean plantings are suspended transgenic, in different processes in charge of communities, peasant organizations and beekeepers, environmental and social organizations. The most recent, at the initiative of the Bacalar Maya Indigenous Regional Council, the Much Kana I’inaj Native Seeds Collective with Educe, the Assembly of Environmentally Affected Persons and other organizations, denounce that there are unconstitutional elements in the biosafety law itself. In a conference on October 3, they explained that the industrial agricultural model and in particular transgenics ensure the dispossession of the land and native seeds, the contamination of soil and water, the loss of biodiversity and damage to health and the environment by the glyphosate. (see here)
Despite the barrage of evidence against them, this October 16 companies, supported by governments and international institutions, will insist that we need high technology, transgenics and climate-smart agriculture to face hunger and climate chaos. The falsehood of this speech is exposed and its environmental, health and social impacts are visible in the Monsanto Court and above all, in every place where peasants, communities, neighborhood organizations, studies, cultures, and critical scientists , show that the path to food sovereignty and environmental and human health is the opposite: peasant agriculture and seeds, local markets, urban gardens, biodiverse, decentralized and in the hands of those who work them.
* Silvia Ribeiro, Researcher at the ETC Group
Source: La Jornada