A strike that has brought activity to a halt since January on three major banana plantations on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast, along the border with Panama, has highlighted the abuses in a sector in the hands of transnational corporations and has forced the governments of both countries to intervene.
Attempts to genetically modify food staples, such as crops and cattle, to increase their nutritional value and overall performance have prompted world-wide criticism by environmental, nutritionists and agriculture experts, who say that protecting and fomenting biodiversity is a far better solution to hunger and malnutrition.
When Dean, the first storm of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, lashed Dominica on Aug. 16, it left behind a trail of destruction, claimed the lives of a mother and son, and decimated the island’s vital banana industry.
FAO is currently supporting two seemingly contradictory projects in Caribbean countries: while one seeks to promote organic production, the other involves the use of chemical fungicides to fight black sigatoka, the worst enemy of this key food crop.
India’s environmental and food security activists who have so far succeeded in stalling attempts to introduce genetically modified (GM) food crops into this largely farming country now find themselves up against a bill in parliament that could criminalise such opposition.