Organic Consumers Association

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Paraguay: President Backs Transgenics

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

The speed with which the government of President Federico Franco - appointed by Congress following a parliamentary coup that ousted President Fernando Lugo (2008-2012) on June 22 - approved the commercial release of five varieties of transgenic corn and two of cotton is causing mixed reactions in the country.

In early July, Paraguay's National Service for Plants and Seeds Quality and Health, or SENAVE, which regulates the use of pesticides on crops, okayed transgenic cotton. One month later, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare authorized the genetically modified corn crop VT Triple Pro, a product of US multinational Monsanto, for human consumption, after deeming it not detrimental to health. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock was the final domino to fall, allowing on Oct. 24 the commercial use of four more transgenic corn varietals, in response to a September decree signed by Franco that loosened the regulations on environmental studies before the commercial use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

On one side, the government's actions are supported by agribusiness - primarily soy growers - as well as mainstream media and multinational seed producers. On the other, campesino and indigenous groups, some political and social groups, syndicates, non-governmental organizations, and environmental organizations, reject transgenic crops, considering them harmful to the culture and practice of small-scale family farming as well as to health and the environment until their safety is proven. 
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