By March 11, 2013 7 Comments Read More →

Latin American Communities Fight to Protect Heirloom Seeds From Monsanto

Anna Hunt, Staff Writer
Waking Times

In small Latin American countries, such as Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, most farmers do not know the pros and cons of using genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Many do not even know what GMO means. But Monsanto is changing all of this with an aggressive strategy to expand internationally, threatening many varieties of natural corn seed available throughout this region.

Local Costa Rican Governments say NO to GMO

The use of GMOs in our food supply is one of the most important health issues today because of the potential danger they pose to our health, the fact that they require the use and over-use of patented herbicides and pesticides, and they are giving a handful of corporations a global monopoly on seed and food. People around the world are learning about GMOs, and deciding if they will allow the growth of GMO crops on their lands, and demanding that foods containing GMOs are properly labeled.

Despite growing concern and questions from the global public, Monsanto, the largest global GMO seed supplier and agro-chemical company, continues the relentless expansion towards a global seed oligopoly. Monsanto’s first quarter 2013 profits nearly tripled due to the sales of its GMO corn seed in Latin America, as reported by the company.

Monsanto’s deep pockets easily sway government officials in its favor, although, most officials know nothing about GMO and their potential dangers. Unsuspecting farmers are sold on the promise that genetically-engineered crops produce higher yields and repel bugs, although, farmers in North America, where GMO crops have been grown for over 15 years, are questioning the validity of these promises. For example, one of the biggest problems reported in the US has been GM seed resistance developed by bugs, which have evolved to survive harsh GM crops and now require more pesticides than ever. (source)

Concerned citizens in Costa Rica, faced with the national government’s decision to allow Monsanto subsidiary, DPL Semillas, to grow GMO corn in the country for seed export, have spent the week of March 4-10 helping to educate the public about the importance of protecting natural heirloom seeds. Over the last couple of months, local communities have been voting on the GMO issue in their county governments – the municipalities – deciding whether to ban the growth of GMO corn in their counties. As of early March, 46 out of 81 municipalities in the country have banned the growth of GMO corn.

Due to the strong opposition from municipalities, as well as universities, Ministry of Culture, agricultural schools, indigenous tribes, and local farmers, the national decision to allow Monsanto to enter Costa Rica is currently suspended and awaits further debate to determine if such a decision is constitutional.

Why Are Heirloom Seeds Important?

To truly understand the threat that Monsanto poses to our liberty and communities, it is vital to understand why protecting heirloom seeds is important.

In Costa Rica, heirloom seeds have been passed from generation to generation by farming families, particularly corn as it is a basic staple of the “Tico” diet. Many varieties of heirloom corn, called maíz criollo, are grown to support the production of common local foods, such as corn tortillas, chorriadas, empanadas, tamales, and other authentic dishes. The type of corn used is typically what gives each dish its unique flavor. GMO cross-pollination with heirloom corn varieties is a major threat to traditional Costa Rican foods, their flavor, as well as the varied nutrition they provide.

Costa Rica is peppered with local farms that feed their local communities. The ownership of unpatented seed ensures these farmers of their God-given right to grow food, however and wherever they wish. Farmers are concerned that the introduction of GMO corn seed into the country will contaminate natural corn varieties with patented GMOs, thus taking away natural agricultural freedom and giving control over the food supply to corporations. Although currently the debate is focused on GMO corn seed, many expect that this is just a way in the door for Monsanto. If corn is allowed, what’s to stop from other GMO crops to be grown in the country?

Selling local produce is a very common way to make a living, particularly in small Latin American communities. For example, in Costa Rica, you will often see a local citizen selling seasonal produce right in front of their house, going door-to-door, or pushing a cart down the street. Selling and trading fruits and vegetables is a simple way that many people supplement or create their income. Also common are seed exchanges, allowing people to exchange their seeds with other local farmers, a practice not possible with patented GMO seed.

Heirloom seeds give us many freedoms: freedom to pass on ancestral traditions; freedom to grow food without patent fees; freedom to nourish our bodies; and freedom to exchange seed without corporate oversight.

About the Author

Anna Hunt is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and an entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in research and editorial writing. She and her husband run a preparedness e-store outlet at www.offgridoutpost.com, offering GMO-free storable food and emergency kits. Anna is also a certified Hatha yoga instructor at Atenas Yoga. She enjoys raising her children and being a voice for optimal human health and wellness. Read more of her excellent articles here.

Sources:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/agriculture/monsanto-first-quarter-profit-nearly-triples-as-biotech-seeds-expand-in-latin-america-186028792.html

http://en.centralamericadata.com/en/search?q1=content_en_le%3A%22Monsanto%22

http://www.cornucopia.org/2013/02/us-farmers-may-stop-planting-gms-after-poor-global-yields/

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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7 Comments on "Latin American Communities Fight to Protect Heirloom Seeds From Monsanto"

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  1. LibIntOrg says:

    Story added to the Libertarian SMILE twitter via http://www.libertarianinternational.org

    Thanks!

  2. George says:

    Monsanto will do anything to push their poison seeds.

  3. abinico warez says:

    If GMO is so great and safe, why is it not served in the Monsanto corporate executive cafeterias.

  4. Sara says:

    We don’t want Monsanto seeds

  5. jon says:

    what they want to do is destroy what our GOD created! that go’s also for me and you! learn how to spot gmo food in supermarkets , AND JUST SAY NO! let their poision food rot on the shelves and not in you! youtube has videos on how to spot it. you must watch out for corn products like kelloggs they use gmo corn.

    • Matt says:

      I live in Costa Rica and I moved here because I used to live in california and oregon where they are chem-spraying daily for the last 10 years ruining the soil and waters… Shasta lake for example in california in 2010 tested 60,000 time the safe level of aluminum! 1 month ago they have started spraying the air here in the name of seeding the clouds so it rains here!! All lie’s! They did this same thing in Hawaii and made the soil so acidic that most islands can now only grow GMO seeds that are aluminum & barium resistant! Imagine that right! Well they are spraying the skies here now with an assault that I have never witnessed before! I have never seen so much spraying anywhere in the World! Monsanto will FORCE there way into countries by killing the soil and water! Monsanto is linked to the cell towers here in Costa Rica, Panama, Nicragua, Guetamala, Columbian Etc. which is being used to push the clouds away to create droughts! True Story! Haarp technology… Do your own research and realize that Monsanto will force there way into any country by design!! Period End of Story!!

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