The people of this working-class suburb of Córdoba in Argentina’s central farming belt stoically put up with the spraying of the weed-killer glyphosate on the fields surrounding their neighbourhood. But the last straw was when U.S. biotech giant Monsanto showed up to build a seed plant.
With state and federal government agencies investigating a U.S. farmer’s complaint that his alfalfa crop may have been contaminated by a genetically modified strain, consumer rights groups are suggesting that such reports were inevitable.
After a string of setbacks in India in recent years, the genetically modified seed industry is now targeting Pakistan as its next frontier, say activists.
Ten years ago, Brazil yielded to agribusiness pressure and legalised the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) soy. Today it is the world’s second leading producer of GM crops, surpassed only by the United States.
Mexico lacks an effective system for monitoring genetically modified organisms, even though they have been regulated by law since the middle of last decade, experts say. In the case of maize, this situation has stood in the way of obtaining data that could help block commercial production, they say.
The debate over the reform of Argentina’s seed law has pitted transnational corporations that make transgenic seeds against social and rural organisations and academics opposed to the expansion of monoculture in defence of biodiversity and food security.
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.