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Brazil Government Blames Congress for Use of Transgenics

Responding to criticisms made by social movements and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) about authorizing the use of transgenic seeds, the general coordinator of the 2nd National Environmental Conference, Pedro Ivo Batista, said that members of the Brazilian Congress, not the Ministry of Environment (MMA), should be held accountable.

Batista is an environmentalist and also a special adviser to Brazil’s Environment Minister, Marina Silva.

"The MMA took a stand and submitted a Biosecurity bill. The legislators altered the law, against what we wanted. The branches are independent.

"This is not a problem of lack of government will, it’s a problem of the correlation of forces in the Congress, which is not favorable to this important environmental cause. It is up to society to hold the legislators accountable," he said.

A temporary order issued by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and approved by the Congress permits genetically modified, also known as transgenic, soybeans to be planted in Brazil.

The position of the delegates to the 1st Conference, held in 2003, was in favor of prohibiting the cultivation, commercialization, warehousing, and transportation of any product containing a transgenic variation.

Ivo informed that 70% of the decisions of the 1st Conference are being met but that much depends upon the relationship among the powers.

"We have to be attentive, because we have three autonomous branches. What is not fair is to claim that we don’t want to implement the country’s environmental questions and there has not been any progress. That is not fair."

Adriana Ramos, an environmentalist with the Socio-Environmental Institute (ISA), said that the 2nd National Environmental Conference will now provide a space for other battles concerning the matter to be waged, such as the requirement that transgenic products be adequately labeled.

Agência Brasil

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  • Guest

    Farmers\’ Rights
    The reason GM soy is so popular in Brazil is that farmers want it. They want it so much, in fact, that they risked government prosecution, fines and imprisonment to plant GM seeds and paid extra money to seed smugglers to get the seed. Environmentalists like to talk about the rights of farmers to grow what they want, but always wind up trying to dictate what farmers can do. It is time for someone to stand up in favor of farmers’ rights, because the environmentalists are standing up against them.

  • Guest

    Contradictory.
    Lula, from what I know represents the government as he his the President of
    Brazil.
    And it is Lula who originally approved originally the GM soya seeds. and only later finally approved by the Cnngress.
    Even before that, most of the GM seeds were smuggled by Brazilians farmers into Brazil. The government did not do any effort to avoid this smuggling.
    Therefore saying, as it does in this report, that the Ministry of Environment is not responsible is wrong. Because this Ministry, by definition is part of the government, and the Congress only ratified what Lula, President, proposed with his temporary order !

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