Skip to main content Skip to footer


THE DEBATE OVER FOOD AID AND GMOS IN LATIN AMERICA Elizabeth Bravo Acción Ecológica INTRODUCTION As long as the production of genetically modified crops continues in the world, an open market will be provided through U.S. Food Aid programs addressed to the world´s most impoverished countries INTRODUCTION As long as the consumers of the world´s financially richest countries focus their campaigns only in assuring their food feed‚ does not come from genetically modified sources And the GMO problem is not viewed as a global issue INTRODUCTION The Andean Region, Central America, the South Saharan African Nations, and the occupied countries as Iraq and Afghanistan will be forced to receive these foods and include them in programs addressed to their countries GEOPOLITICAL ROLE OF SOUTH AMERICA FOR GE CROPS GEOPOLITICAL ROLE OF SOUTH AMERICA FOR GE CROPS For the time being, in three Latin-American countries the world‚s highest percentage of Soybean is produced These are Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay Bolivia is also an important producer THE ROLE OF BRAZIL In this geopolitical scenario, President Lula da Silva played a key role: by legalizing the year 2003 and 2004 GE harvests. The Brazilian downfall in the GMO market also meant the Paraguayan and Bolivian decline, since their markets being tied up to the Brazilian The world s main Soybean sources are Genetically Modified. On one hand, this favours the United States Soybean producer, no longer having to face competition with the conventional Brazilian Soybean in a GMO rejecting market. But a Soybean surplus is created in the world market. Conflicts thus arise among U.S. Soybean producers selling it as a commodity, with the seed companies interested in selling to their competitors. This explains the growing subsidies U.S. Soybean producers receive. Food Aid is part of these subsidies. FOOD AID AND FREE TRADE This turns out to be ironic, because as long as the WTO and other Free Trade Treaties force us to unprotect our local production, these very institutions force us to accept subsidized foods, as aids or at under production costs prices FOOD AID AND FREE TRADE In the bilateral Free Trade Agreements that the U.S. has signed with some countries, specially in Latin America, a clause is included by which these countries must accept Food Aid from the United States THE ANDEAN REGION The Andean region has become of strategic importance for the U.S. Foreign Policy. A motivation is to gain access to Venezuelan rich oil deposits. Part of this strategy is what is known as Plan Colombia. In this geopolitical game, Ecuador becomes a key piece THE ANDEAN REGION Food aid in Ecuador and the US militar base FOOD AID AND GE FOOD The Agriculture Department of the United States is exporting thousands of tons of Genetically Modified Corn and Soybean to the Third World, through Food Aid programs, transferring the risk that U.S. producers face due to consumer’s rejection to GE food, to the planet´s poorest population NO IN OUR MILK For example, while in Europe and in the United States, awareness and fear increase of the risks of the recombinant growth hormone in milk, or because of milk coming from cows feed with GE products Dairy Export Incentive Program Dairy Export Incentive Program (2002-2007) Its aim is the market expansion of US dairy products To turn milk producers competitive in the world market USAID DISTRIBUTED AS FOOD AID 22,733 Metric Tons of Powdered Milk 7,032 Metric Tons of Butter 1,010 Metric Tons of Cheese. WITH AN EQUIVALENT OF: $ 14.8 Million US Dollars in Milk $ 15 Million US Dollars of Butter $ 1.5 Million US Dollars of Cheese. (June 2003 and June 2004) DAIRY PRODUCTS AS FOOD AID The Dairy product receiving countries of Latin America and the Caribbean were: Guatemala Jamaica St. Lucia Trinidad &Tobago Guyana Honduras Nicaragua St. Vincent and Grenadines Foreign Market Development Program Food aid is complemented with other programs such as the FMDP The program support foreign partners to improving their capacity of processing U.S. products, in order to identify new markets. This year, the first beneficiary will be the American Association of Soybean Producers, which will receive a fund of over $ 7 million only in this program BILATERAL FTA AND GMOs In Latin America, Free Trade Agreements with the U.S. are becoming very important. Signatory countries will have to follow the U.S. policy in international trade of GMOs, for seeds and foods and other products derived from Genetically Modified Organisms. FOOD AID IN FTA Food Aid is no exception In Treaties signed with CAFTA (Central America countries?) are forced to accept foods as Food Aid It is possible similar clauses exist in Treaties under present negotiation with three Andean nations Food aid with GMO in Latin America ECUADOR COLOMBIA BOLIVIA ARGENTINA: SOYA SOLIDARIA MESOAMERICA: THE CENTRE OF ORIGEN OF CORN CONCLUSION The most vulnerable population of the world‚s poorest countries is receiving Genetically Modified Foods through Food Aid Programs CONCLUSION They are children, pregnant or breast-feeding women, in some cases HIV positive patients, with shocking malnutrition levels, and a very fragile and delicate immune system, living under stressful situations due to war, or surviving natural disasters CONCLUSION Food Aid in several cases is necessary, but it must be based upon solidarity, to support those facing extreme situations; therefore it should occur in a frame of equity and respect Food Aid must not become a mechanism to place surplus of agricultural products, specially products not wanted by others. If this is the case, we are witnessing a new case of environmental racism CONCLUSION The only way to avoid that the most vulnerable populations of the world´s most impoverished countries, become an open market for the undesirable products of the bio-tech industry, is to oppose Genetically Modified Crops all over the world There is where we must focus our efforts. THANK YOU