Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL, Monday, March 10, 2003 -- CropChoice news --
Financial Times 03/07/03: Brazil's decision
to permit the export of some six tons of genetically
modified soy beans whose cultivation is banned in the
country was praised Friday by non-governmental organizations
opposed to trangenic crops.
"It was an extraordinary decision that will allow
those who already planted genetically engineered soy
beans to sell their crop, but it will prevent the next
crop from being contaminated," Flavia Londres,
technical coordinator with the group For a Transgenics-Free
Brazil, told EFE.
Londres said her organization, which represented other
groups such as Greenpeace, Action Aid and Ecological
Center at meetings with members of President Luiz Inacio
Lula da Silva's Cabinet in the past two months, had
lobbied in favor of the decision.
At the end of a Cabinet meeting Thursday, Lula, as
the president is known here, announced that he would
fully enforce Brazil's ban on geneticaly modified, or
The government, however, will work out a special regulation
to allow farmers who planted GM seeds to sell their
harvest this year, Lula said.
The measure will benefit thousands of farmers who illegally
imported GM seeds from Argentina and are preparing to
harvest their crops this month.
Officials expect that the transgenic soy crop will
total some 6 million tons, or 12 percent of the 49 million
ton soy harvest forecast for this year.
Brazil is the world's second-largest producer of soy
beans, after the United States, while Argentina is No.
3. Both Washington and Buenos Aires permit GM crops.
"This is a very serious social and economic problem
given that scores of farmers planted transgenic soy
beans," presidential spokesman Andre Singer said,
explaining that the government would not order the destruction
of the banned crop.
Lula's administration, which took office Jan. 1, blamed
the previous government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso
for allowing the illegal cultivation of GM crops.
"There was a lack of oversight during the prior
administration," Singer said.
Londres said Brazil has much to gain from the ban on
transgenic crops since the European Union as well as
China - two of the largest soy importers in the world
- have banned the sale of GM soy beans.