CURITIBA, Brazil - March 15 - Over one thousand farmers occupied the site of an illegal field trial of GE soybeans planted by agro-biotech giant Syngenta in the National Park of Iguacu in Parana, southern Brazil on Tuesday. The site of the illegal trails was occupied by protesting farmers from "Via Campesina" an organisation representing small farmers in the region.
Ironically, the illegal crop was planted near to Curitiba, where 132 countries are meeting to agree measures to prevent illegal movement and planting of GE crops and to protect biodiversity - the so-called Biosafety Protocol. Brazilian legislation prohibits the release of GMOs in protected areas and their surroundings
Greenpeace immediately called for the crop to be destroyed. "This is an environmental crime and clearly illustrates the GMO industry's attitude on Biosafety and their level of respect for biodiversity." said Mariana Paoli, Greenpeace genetic engineering campaigner "We expect the Brazilian government to fully investigate the case, to hold Syngenta accountable and to destroy this field trial immediately."
Parana's Governor, Roberto Requião has offered to have Syngenta's soybeans burnt immediately, declaring that he wants to continue to keep the State free of GMOs. Brazil's minister for Environment, Marina Silva, who is present at the Biosafety Protocol meeting also announced that the case would be investigated and would eventually lead to prosecutions.
Delegates from 132 countries meeting at the third meeting of the International Biosafety Protocol are locked in negotiations on international standards for labelling of shipments of genetically engineered food and feed. Accurate and specific labelling of GMO crops is vital in order to ensure they do not mix with non-GE products and 'leak' into the environment. Also at stake is risk assessment of GE Organisms and their impact on biodiversity.