GMOS – Informative Note For Press

VIA CAMPESINA – IV International Conference – São Paolo, Brazil – June 14-19

Genetic contamination is at the centre of world debate. We need to know more about GMOs. There has been discussion about consumers’ rights, but there are much more detailed analyses of the manipulation of foods and seeds and the way the great powers take decisions that affect the rest of the world, prioritising business interests rather than human life. Genetically modified crops are now a source of contamination, thanks to the biotechnology industry’s efforts to achieve international acceptance of them as a fait accompli.

Via Campesina would like to make it clear that the multinational companies are responsible for imposing genetically modified crops as a valid food and economic alternative and trying to make GMOs a synonym of progress, as part of the process of globalisation imposed by the free market economic model.

GMOs and the use and abuse of pesticides in the agricultural export sector represent serious health risks for those who consume these products; they also threaten the environment, by destroying biodiversity, which is the variety of life in all its forms, levels and combinations; they also accentuate social inequality, because of the brutal impact on the peasant world. Only the people in charge of the multinational companies benefit.

Another important issue is the role of biotechnology. Contrary to what has been publicised about the "advantages" of this pillar of technology, the peasant movement warns that the development of biotechnology is not in the common interest and nor will it reduce hunger, as claimed by its creators and champions. It will only strengthen the big food, pharmaceutical and pesticides companies.

Biotechnology has been introduced without considering the real needs of countries and peoples, and without consulting public opinion. We don’t need GMOs, we need natural, healthy food. We don’t need GMO seeds, we need to use the thousands of seeds used by peasants to feed the world down through history. We don’t want our food changed into pharmaceutical agents, we want to maintain our sovereignty over what we consume and how we consume it.

Via Campesina organises action against this trade system that harms peasants, in the form of a major international campaign – Seeds are the Heritage of the People at the Service of Humanity. It highlights that humanity developed thanks to the free democratic access to the production, reproduction and use of seeds.

"We defend the right ad duty of farmers and their communities to produce seeds. We are against the use of genetically modified seeds, because there are no guarantees that they will not harm the health of farmers and consumers and the environment. We are against the seed trade monopoly of the multinational companies".

For more information and Press accreditation: Iana Paro: +55 11 3361 3866