Venezuelan President bans cultivation of GM crops

April 21, 2004, as reported by Venezuelanalysis.com: President Hugo Chavez Frias has announced that the cultivation of genetically modified crops will be prohibited on Venezuelan soil, possibly establishing the most sweeping restrictions on transgenic crops in the Western Hemisphere. Though full details of the administration's policy on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are still forthcoming, the statement by President Chavez will lead most immediately to the cancellation of a contract that Venezuela had negotiated with the US-based Monsanto Corporation.

Before a recent international gathering of supporters in Caracas, President Chavez admonished genetically engineered crops as contrary to interests and needs of the nation's farmers and farm workers. He then zeroed in on Monsanto's plans to plant up to 500,000 acres of transgenic soybeans in Venezuela.

"I ordered an end to the project," said President Chavez, upon learning that transgenic crops were involved. "This project is terminated." President Chavez emphasized the importance of food sovereignty and security -- required by the Venezuelan Constitution -- as the basis of his decision. Instead of allowing Monsanto to grow its transgenic crops, these fields will be used to plant yuca (an indigenous crop), Chavez explained. He also announced the creation of a large seed bank facility to maintain indigenous seeds for peasants' movements around the world.

Read the full article at http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news.php?newsno=1254