Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Peru Bans Genetically Modified Crops and a Cursory Summary of GMO Crop Production in South America

Photo by Bob Brinkmann.
In food and agriculture news, Peru has banned the use of genetically modified crops and ingredients in foods.  The move to ban genetically modified foods seems to be growing steam internationally.  The use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) is a highly controversial topic in agricultural and environmental circles.  Some support the use of them while others seek to ban them or require labeling.

The use of genetically modified crops is mixed in South America.  Ecuador and Venezuela have banned genetically modified seeds.  Brazil and Argentina, in contrast, are the worlds second and third largest producers of genetically modified crops (after the U.S.).

An emerging issue regarding genetically modified crops in Argentina (and other nations around the world) is seed saving.  One of the large criticisms of genetically modified crops is that it is illegal to save seeds from the crops for use in future harvests.  This is because the companies that developed the GMO's have patented them.  Thus, seed cannot be legally saved by farmers for future crops, making them entirely dependent in perpetuity to large agricultural companies for annual seed stock.  Argentina is looking at laws allowing farmers to utilize saved seeds.

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