No to GMO in Argentina?
Few of us have forgotten the Argentinian economic crisis, whose worst period came in 2001-2002. Economic problems have been overcome since then, also thanks to investments in agriculture and increased investments in soy production. At the moment, Argentina is one of the leading manufacturers of soy in the world. However, the cultivation of this crop also sparks some controversy.
Fueling the growth
Although soy has been cultivated in Argentina since the arrival of the conquistadors, the recent upsurge in production has been driven by Monsanto, an American corporation specializing in the production of genetically modified plants. The Monsanto soy grown in Argentina is resistant to glyphosate. This compound is an ingredient of Roundup, a brand of popular herbicide used since the 1970′ and produced – among others – by Monsanto.
The introduction of genetically modified soy has coincided with the growing incidence of health problems in the Argentinian population. Grave problems have been associated with the use of the above-mentioned herbicide. More and more children are being born with birth defects and malformations. Additionally, more instances of cancer have been observed in the population. The Argentinian doctors believe that Roundup is toxic for all organisms with the exception of plants which are resistant to this herbicide. The quantity of this substance is growing alongside the growth of the acreage of soy plantations.
In order to appease the social unrest in Argentina, Monsanto is planning to lobby for restricting the availability of its herbicides, so that they may only be used by certified appliers. The assumption is that this could limit the uncontrolled use of the substance, which might have an impact on human organisms once it has leaked to water reservoirs. Such move may not be sufficient to appease the inhabitants of Córdoba, the main city in the region leading in the production of soy. Monsanto was going to build a factory of genetically modified soybean seeds in this city. At present, the stalemate continues.