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Argentina: Case Study in Perils of Pesticide-Heavy GMO-Crop Boom

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

(Photo: Nicolás Poblete/cc/flickr)

New reporting by the Associated Press highlights the health problems afflicting Argentinians since the rise of biotech farming and becoming the world's third largest soybean producer.

According to AP's investigation, farmers in the Latin American country use twice as much pesticide per acre as farmers in the US, and those agrotoxins may be applied by farmers not wearing protective gear and may drift into homes and schools. The pesticide containers may also end up resold, posing a public health threat.

Doctors warn that the rise in cancer and birth defects may be attributable to the growing use of these pesticides, AP reports.

This summer the non-profit organization GRAIN highlighted the "neocolonialist fervor" with which transnational agribusinesses were transforming parts of Latin America, including Argentina, into “The United Republic of Soybeans,” pushing genetically modified crops and sparking "a social and environmental catastrophe settling like a plague over the entire region."

GRAIN wrote:

There has been no official concern about the problems caused by the widespread planting of transgenic soybeans and the high levels of agrotoxins this requires. On the contrary, this model continues to be consolidated and defended by all of the region’s governments, which have adopted it as government policy in every case. At best – and only when societal pressure becomes too great – they have given slapdash consideration to the problems of agrotoxin poisoning, displacement of peasants and first peoples, land concentration, and loss of local production. But these are considered “collateral impacts.”


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