The reintegration of ownership of the area belonging to the Swiss corporation Syngenta Seeds, occupied since March 14 by peasants of La Via Campesina, will not be put into effect until the Federal government resolves the question of the corporation’s illegal planting of transgenic soy. This is the position of the governor of Paraná, Roberto Requião (PMDB),during a meeting held with the members of La Via Campesina, environmental groups, and NGOs such as Greenpeace and the ETC Group.
In the lunch that was held on March 20 in the Iguaçu Palace in Curitiba, participants spoke about the action of Syngenta and about important questions related to biodiversity that will be discussed in the 8th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-8), that began today in the city.
"The best thing the State can do is to not grant reintegration of ownership to the corporation until the federal government resolves the question of the illegal planting", said Requião, who was in a good mood during the meeting.
Six hundred rural workers of La Via Campesina are occupying Syngenta’s experimental field in the municipality of Teresa do Oeste, which produces soy and experiments with transgenic corn. The planting of transgenic soy is illegal in regions that are less then 10 kilometers (km) from forest and indigenous reserves.
The Swiss corporation produces transgenics only 6 km from Iguaçu National Park and was already sued by the Brazilian Institute on the Environment and Renewable Resources (IBAMA). The planting and sale of transgenic corn is also illegal in Brazil. However, the Federal Government has not taken any action at this point.
"The National Technical Commission on Biosecurity alleges that its responsibility is to evaluate and authorize studies for the Federal government with the goal of overseeing how and where transgenics will be planted. Therefore we have to pressure it", the governor argues.
Roberto Baggio, of the national leadership of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Paraná, believes that the farmers have to give a social function to the area of 12 hectares. "We want to transform the property into a production unit for native seeds, a model for all of Latin America".
For Baggio, the area is ideal for cultivating another agricultural model, showing that alternatives exist to the current destructive system. "Seeds are the basis of human survival and should not be considered commodities", he states.
Terminator The participants in the meeting also discussed the moratorium that prevents the planting of sterile terminator seeds, a central point in the COP-8 discussions. "The seed is life and to give a farmer a sterile seed protected by patents is to give him death", according to Governor Requião, who supports maintaining the measure.
Pat Mooney, a researcher with the Group ETC, analyzes that a quarter of the world’s population depends directly on industrialized seeds. This shows the level of dependence of the small farmers in relation to the multinationals. "This means that the Terminator seeds would cost around $R 7 billion with taxes and the annual purchase of seeds", he argues.
Only the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada defend ending the moratorium but even then, the situation is worsening because these countries are important in the game of negotiations.
Igor Felippe Santos – Minga Infomativa