Despite the forecast of a harvest including 25 million tons of transgenic soybeans, the coordinator of Greenpeace’s genetic engineering campaign, Ventura Barbeiro, an agronomist, assures that environmental activists will continue to be opposed to governmental authorization of transgenic species.
According to Barbeiro, permission for transgenic soybeans to be cultivated in Brazil followed "the political route, not the scientific route or the route of debate together with civil society."
He emphasized that there were no "studies of environmental impact nor of the consequences for human health." He pointed out that no studies exist in Brazil on this topic and that, in the United States, they provided confirmation of an "ecological tragedy."
Barbeiro explained that Greenpeace opposes allowing transgenics to enter the environment, because, "it’s not easy to remove them afterwards."
"So far there is no evidence that transgenic soybeans or any other genetically modified products are essential to humanity. Experience shows that transgenics have not resolved the world’s hunger problem."
Barbeiro questioned the forecasts presented by farmers interviewed for the special program, "Soybeans – A Big Business," broadcast by Brazil’s state-owned Radio Nacional on Friday, January 20, that half the upcoming harvest will consist of transgenic soybeans.
"The harvest will not even be 20% transgenic, because the productivity of transgenic soybeans is far less than the productivity of conventional soybeans."
The coordinator informed that, apart from the debate, Greenpeace plans to reinforce its campaign to monitor the Label Law, which requires all products containing at least 1% of substances of transgenic origin to bear the letter "T" on the label and clearly visible information about the product’s contents.
"This is applicable, for example, to soy oil, margarine or crackers that contain hydrogenated soybean fat, and even chocolate that contains soybean lecithin."