Tag Archives: gmo corn

Monsanto, Pioneer prohibited from marketing GE corn in Mexico

Note: While this article mentions a ban on GE corn, in reality it’s more like a temporary suspension of new GE corn approvals, while the government continues to discuss it’s potential impacts.  Already granted field trials will continue and are not suspended.

What this means is that the fight is far from over — we know that the biotech industry will use this opportunity to sink millions of dollars into PR campaigns and phony science in attempts to push past this suspension.  Keep an eye out for calls for solidarity from food sovereignty organizers in Mexico as this case moves forward.

-The GJEP Team

By Devon G. Peña, October 11, 2013  Source: Environmental Food & Justice

An October 10 press release with Mexico City byline announced the banning of genetically engineered corn in Mexico. According to the group that issued the press release, La Coperacha, a federal judge has ordered Mexico’s SAGARPA (Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca, y Alimentación), which is Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, and SEMARNAT (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales), which is equivalent of the EPA, to immediately “suspend all activities involving the planting of transgenic corn in the country and end the granting of permission for experimental and pilot commercial plantings”.

maiz+nativo

Some of the native maize varieties from Oaxaca, Mexico

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Filed under Biodiversity, BREAKING NEWS, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture, Latin America-Caribbean, Victory!

Meet the activists who humiliated Monsanto

By Alex Cline, August 21, 2013. Source: Policy Mic

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

Last Thursday, an intriguing press release from “Monsanto Global” was sent out to to the email inboxes of media organizations all over the world. According to the press release, Monsanto had received approval from Mexico’s SAGARPA (Secretariat of Agriculture) to plant a quarter of a million hectares of GMO corn in Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Durango. This was coupled with the announcement of two new Monsanto-funded institutions: a seed bank preserving Mexico’s 246 native strains of corn, and a museum of Mexican culture, to be established such that “[n]ever again will the wealth of this region’s culture be lost as social conditions change.”

This was certainly interesting, and indeed, the SAGARPA was in fact considering a permit to allow Monsanto to plant the corn. Still, it seemed fishy, and totally unlike Monsanto to admit (even obliquely) that their corporate practices could possibly change Mexican culture and wipe out indigenous corn strains.

Within hours, the domain name linked to in the press release (monsantoglobal.com) was no longer available, and a second Monsanto-branded press release denouncing the earlier announcement went out. This one, sent from an email at a different domain name (monsanto-media.com), claimed that the Monsanto Global press release was the work of an activist group called Sin Maíz No Hay Vida.
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As biotech seed falters, insecticide use surges in corn belt

Note: And once again, it seems that the only solution to the woes of modern farming is to transition away from industrial agriculture, with its monocultures, pesticides and biotech seeds.  So far, no pests have been found that are resistant to extensive crop rotation and biodiverse farms.

And once again, the ‘logic’ of the free market is driving this catastrophe.  As the below article points out, the high price of corn (caused by recent droughts across the globe and increased demand for ethanol refineries, among other factors) is encouraging large scale producers to maintain business-as-usual, planting corn year after year, no matter what the ecological and agricultural impacts.

-The GJEP Team

By Dan Charles, July 9, 2013. Source: NPR

Crop consultant Dan Steiner inspects a field of corn near Norfolk, Neb. Photo: Dan Charles/NPR

Crop consultant Dan Steiner inspects a field of corn near Norfolk, Neb. Photo: Dan Charles/NPR

Across the Midwestern corn belt, a familiar battle has resumed, hidden in the soil. On one side are tiny, white larvae of the corn rootworm. On the other side are farmers and the insect-killing arsenal of modern agriculture.

We’ve reported on earlier phases of this battle: The discovery of rootworms resistant to one type of genetically engineered corn, and an appeal from scientists for the government to limit the use of this new corn to preserve the effectiveness of its protection against rootworm.

It appears that farmers have gotten part of the message: Biotechnology alone will not solve their rootworm problems. But instead of shifting away from those corn hybrids, or from corn altogether, many are doubling down on insect-fighting technology, deploying more chemical pesticides than before. Companies like Syngenta or AMVAC Chemicalthat sell soil insecticides for use in corn fields are reporting huge increases in sales: 50 or even 100 percent over the past two years.

This is a return to the old days, before biotech seeds came along, when farmers relied heavily on pesticides. For Dan Steiner, an independent crop consultant in northeastern Nebraska, it brings back bad memories. “We used to get sick [from the chemicals],” he says. “Because we’d always dig [in the soil] to see how the corn’s coming along. We didn’t wear the gloves and everything, and we’d kind of puke in the middle of the day. Well, I think we were low-dosing poison on ourselves!”
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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture, Pollution

Victory! Environmental review to delay two engineered crops

Note:  More stringent environmental review is no funeral pyre for genetically engineered (GE) crops.  However, this news – in addition to another recent USDA decision delaying the deregulation process of ArborGen’s GE eucalyptus – suggests some promise for the efforts of the anti-biotech movement.  Global Justice Ecology Project wouldn’t bet our horses on the USDA making the right decision, but for now, we can take it as a victory in the movement to end genetic engineering.

-The GJEP Team

By Andrew Pollack, May 10, 2013. Source: NY Times

Glyphosate, a herbicide, being sprayed on a field. Some weeds are now glyphosate-resistant. Photo: H. Rick Bamman/Northwest Herald, via AP

Glyphosate, a herbicide, being sprayed on a field. Some weeds are now glyphosate-resistant. Photo: H. Rick Bamman/Northwest Herald, via AP

Genetically engineered crops that could sharply increase the use of two powerful herbicides are now unlikely to reach the market until at least 2015 because the Department of Agriculture has decided to subject the crops to more stringent environmental reviews than it had originally intended.

The department said on Friday that it had made the decision after determining that approval of the crops “may significantly affect the quality of the human environment.”

The crops in question are Dow Chemical’s corn and soybeans that would be resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D and Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans.

Many farmers say they would welcome the new crops because it would give them a way to kill the rapidly growing number of weeds that have become resistant to their main herbicide — Roundup, known generically as glyphosate. Most of the corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the United States are genetically engineered to tolerate glyphosate, allowing farmers to spray the chemical to kill weeds without hurting the crops.

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Study reveals GMO corn to be highly toxic

April 15, 2013. Source: RT

corn.si

Photo: AFP/Paul J. Richards

A leaked study examining genetically-modified corn reveals that the lab-made alternative to organic crops contains a startling level of toxic chemicals.

An anti-GMO website has posted the results of an education-based consulting company’s comparison of corn types, and the results reveal that genetically modified foods may be more hazardous than once thought.

The study, the 2012 Corn Comparison Report by Profit Pro, was published recently on the website for Moms Across America March to Label GMOs, a group that says they wish to “raise awareness and support Moms with solutions to eat GMO Free as we demand GMO labeling locally and nationally simultaneously.” They are plotting nationwide protests scheduled for later this year.

The report, writes the website’s Zen Honeycutt, was provided by a representative for De Dell Seed Company, an Ontario-based farm that’s touted as being Canadian only non-GMO corn seed company.
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Mexican farmers protest the entrance of GMO corn

February 25, 2013. Source: The Real News

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture, Latin America-Caribbean

Solidarity statement with anti-GMO corn hunger strike in Mexico

Note: From our allies at La Via Campesina

To the Government of Mexico

To the news media in Mexico and the World

To the National Union of Autonomous Regional Peasant Organizations of Mexico (UNORCA)

Monday, January 28, 2013

As the global coordinator of La Via Campesina, the world farmers and peasants movement, I write to give my total support to my fellow peasant leaders of the UNORCA in Mexico, who are protesting to stop the imminent approval by the Mexican government of large-scale commercial GMO maize plantations. Since, Wednesdat 23rd, they are sitting-in and carrying out a hunger strike at the Angel Monument in Mexico City, which commemorates Mexican independence from Spain. They are now struggling against a new form of colonialism.

With our presence in more than 70 countries around the world, in La Via Campesina we have seen the truth behind the lies of Monsanto and other transnational corporations when they promote the supposed benefits of GMO seeds. We have seen how the failures of these seeds have led to mass farmer suicides in India and to entire communities in the Philippines and in Paraguay falling sick, among other disasters. Now they want to contaminate the center of origin of one of the most important food crops for all of humanity. We cannot in good faith allow this to happen, as it could put the food sovereignty of all of humanity at risk.

I call on the Government of Mexico to reject commercial GMO maize planting, to cancel the permits already granted for open-field experimental and pilot plots, and to repeal the neoliberal seed and biosafety laws that have opened to door to GMOs in Mexico.

I stand together with my brothers and sisters of the UNORCA in their defense of humanity and the Mother Earth.

Henry Saragih

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Mexico: Anti-riot police greet hunger-striking farmers

Note:  Following this short update from Mexican farmers who planned a hunger strike to protest the introduction of GMO corn in Mexico is “The Maize Manifesto: No to GMO Maize,” which outlines the threats that GMO seeds pose to Mexican farmers and culture.

-The GJEP Team

January 23, 2013.  Source: La Via Campesina

2013-01-24-IMG_1859Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa, head of government of the Federal District, has betrayed the peasants of UNORCA mounting anti-riot police operation at the Angel of Independence. It had been negotiated with the City yesterday, an agreement to allow a peaceful sit-in and hunger strike against the imminent commercial release of transgenic corn planting on a large scale in Mexico (see link below for more information) . Despite the alleged agreement, when hundreds of farmers of 20 states of the republic came to settle, they found hundreds of riot police with shields preventing access to the monument, in what is being called a betrayal and a “pre-eviction. ”

Alberto Gómez Flores, a leader of the UNORCA and coordinator of Via Campesina North America, said: “it’s very symbolic because they are preventing people of this country from being in front of the Monument of Independence from Spanish colonialism, and thus they are really serving their current masters, the new colonialists of Monsanto, DuPont and Pioneer. “He continued, “here we are a few meters from the U.S. Embassy, which also serves the same masters.” And ” we will stay here in camp, as close as we can be to the Monument, and if they come to evict us we will sit peacefully in resistence . They will not take us away from here.”
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Mexico: Hunger strike against GM maize

January 23, 2013.  Source: La Via Campesina

transgenicosLetter from the National Union of Autonomous Regional Peasant Organizations (UNORCA)

(Letter to the people and Government of Mexico: The Maize Manifesto: No to GMO Maiz)

DEAR COMPAÑERO(A):

This Wednesday, January 23rd, we will start a new phase in our struggle against the planting of GMO maize here in Mexico, consisting of a collective hunger strike held in front of the Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City. National peasant leaders from our organization from more than 20 states of our republic will begin a sit-in at this very symbolic location.

This act of voluntarily using our own bodies for civic protest will remind us of our almost 30 million fellow Mexicans who cannot find enough food to fill their stomachs on a daily basis. We want to reach the hearts and minds of the people of Mexico and the World to share our grave concern for the health, culture and economy of our nation, eroded by a development model that only benefits a tiny minority, a minority which includes the transnational corporations that today conspire to appropriate for themselves one of the greatest heritages of our peoples: MAIZE.

We want to express our indignation faced with the terrible blow that would come with the imminent approval of large-scale commercial planting of GMO maize in Mexico, and we demand that the Mexican government place the interests of peasants and the majority of Mexican farmers above the interests of a few transnational corporations. After his official visit to Mexico in 2011, the Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food of the United Nations, Olivier de Schutter, recommended that the government of then-president Calderón immediately suspend experimental planting of GMO maize, because of its impact on the rights of peasants, on biodiversity, and because of the importance of maize in the diet and culture of Mexicans. The government ignored that recommendation.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Latin America-Caribbean

Dow’s controversial new GMO corn delayed amid protests

By Carey Gillam, January 18, 2013.  Source: Reuters

2009_11_gmocornA controversial new biotech corn developed by Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical,, will be delayed at least another year as the company awaits regulatory approval amid opposition from farmers, consumers and public health officials.

Dow AgroSciences officials said Friday that they now expect the first sales of Enlist for planting in 2014. Previously officials had set the 2013 planting season as a target, but U.S. farmers are already buying seed for planting this spring, and Dow has yet to secure U.S. approval for Enlist.

Dow wants to roll out Enlist corn, and then soybeans and cotton to be used in combination with its new Enlist herbicide that combines the weed-killers 2,4-D and glyphosate. The Enlist crops are genetically altered to tolerate treatments of the Enlist herbicide mixture. The hope is that Enlist will wipe out an explosion of crop-choking weeds that have become resistant to glyphosate alone.
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