Oct 31, 2011
In October Eric Hoffman from Friends of the Earth US took to the road for a week in Atlantic Canada to discuss the risks of genetically engineered fish.
Eric began his tour on Prince Edward Island, Canada, home to a facility that will create genetically engineered Atlantic salmon eggs to be raised into food for the US public. This would be the first-ever genetically engineered animal to be approved for human consumption and could open the floodgate to other genetically engineered animals, such as trout, tilapia, cows, pigs, and even chickens.
Sep 07, 2011
Declaration from the European Forum for Food Sovereignty, Krems, Austria.
In August the European Forum for Food Sovereignty took place in Krems, Austria. Following Nyeleni Mali 2007, the idea was to get people together from organizations already involved in the issues of food sovereignty.
The forum was attended by 400 delegates from 34 European countries (from Portugal to Azerbajan), on behalf of more than 120 organizations. The goal of the meeting was to look at food sovereignty from a European perspective.
At the end of the forum a declaration was produced which can be read here
Representatives from Real World Radio, our online radio station, were also present to interview some of those in attendance. You can listen to the interviews here.
Aug 12, 2011
Friends of the Earth Spain celebrates the suspension of GM trials with human genes after mass mobilisations by the general public.
Valencia's local government has revoked the permit of an Italian pharmaceutical company to experiment with GM rice combined with human genes in Vinaros, Castellon.
After protests from social, ecologist and peasant organizations, the Valencian Committee of Genetically Modified Organisms, which depends on the Council of Agriculture, has rejected this dangerous crop.
The aim of the GM trial was to obtain enzymes to treat Gaucher's disease. However, there are several treatments for this disease that are obtained through genetic engineering in confined environments.
The risks associated with this experiment would have been far to high for what was a commercial purpose. There are already many cases of contamination with experimental GMOs, some of them with rice crops.
The trials were opposed by various social, ecological and farmers organisations. In Castellon the 15M movement were involved in setting up information stands about GM crops in various towns in the province in order to educate citizens more on the controversial science.
Talks and open debates were also organised and a cyberaction was carried out in which 5,000 people participated requesting the annulment of the license granted to the crop. As a result of the opposition, the municipality declared the Castellon region would remain GM-free.
However, in Spain as a whole, there are still numerous experiments with GM crops taking place. The country is the only EU member state that cultivates large-scale commercial GM corn.
The following organizations participated in this campaign:
*ACSUD Las Segovias * ADP Amics de Palanques * ADV Producció Ecològica del Montsia Baix Ebre * Amigos de la Tierra * APNAL Ecologistas en Acción Vinaròs * Asociación Olea * Colla Ecologista d’Alacant/Ecologistas en Acción * Colla Ecologista de Castelló * Colla Ecologista d´Almassora * GECEN * GER Ecologistas en Acción Vila-real * Greenpeace * Grup de Ciències Meridià Zero * Intersindical Valenciana * ISF Ingeniería Sin Fronteras Valencia * La Unió de Llauradors i Ramaders * Llavors d´ací * Asociación de consumo L´Alficòs * L´Arquet Ecologistas en Acción Vall d’Uixó * Mercatrèmol Alacant * Plataforma Andalucía Libre de Transgénicos - PALT * Plataforma Ciutadana No a la Contaminació * Red de Semillas Resembrando e Intercambiando * Som lo que sembrem * Terratrèmol * Xarxa d´Agroecologia de Castelló
Check out the campaign's blog for more information: http://notransgenicsavinaros.blogspot.com/
Apr 16, 2011
"There can be no justifications for land grabbing!" social movements and CSOs tell World Bank, UN agencies and governments
Today, on the International Day of Peasant Struggles, prominent farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, human rights and research organisations have sharply criticised the World Bank, three UN agencies and governments for promoting agricultural investments that are resulting in land grabbing on a massive scale.
From 18-20 April, investors, government officials and staff of international agencies will gather in Washington DC for the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty to discuss how to operationalise a framework called Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI). Formulated by the World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), RAI consists of seven principles which investors may choose whether or not to abide by when conducting large-scale farmland acquisitions.
A statement released by Centro de Estudios para el Cambio en el Campo Mexicano, FIAN International, Focus on the Global South, Friends of the Earth International, Global Campaign on Agrarian Reform, GRAIN, La Via Campesina, Land Research Action Network, Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos and World Forum of Fisher Peoples calls instead for an outright ban on land grabbing.
According to Henry Saragih from La Via Campesina, “The food price crisis happened because of the commoditization of food. RAI will legitimize land grabbing worse than in the colonial era. All sizes and types of land will be taken by TNCs; there will be no place for peasants, peoples and communities to live. This type of agricultural production is creating a way of life that is highly dependent on a few TNCs.”
“Large-scale land acquisitions are designed to open up new spaces for export oriented, industrial, plantation agriculture” said Henk Hobbelink of GRAIN. “There is no point in sanctioning that through any set of investor 'principles' or code of conduct. This is not an agriculture that feeds people in a just and sustainable way.”
Accounts pouring in from Asia, Africa and Latin America reveal that local communities are being dispossessed as never before of their sole sources of food and livelihood security. Reports indicate that at least 50 million hectares of good agricultural land – enough to feed 50 million families in India – have been transferred from farmers to corporations in the last few years alone. Investment brokers estimate that US$25 billion have already been committed globally, and boast that this figure will triple in a very near future. RAI will offer such large-scale land deals a cloak of respectability.
“RAI is dangerously deceptive” said Shalmali Guttal from Focus on the Global South. “Corporations and governments will win, but local communities, eco-systems and future generations will lose; the takeover of rural peoples lands is completely unacceptable no matter what guidelines are followed.”
“The breaching of international human rights law is an intrinsic part of land grabbing,” stated Sofía Monsalve from FIAN International. “Forced evictions, the foreclosure of vast stretches of land for current and future use by rural peoples, the introduction of models of land use and agriculture that destroy natural environments, the blatant denial of information, and the prevention of meaningful local participation in political decisions that affect people's lives are all human rights violations.”
“The new wave of land grabbing will have a devastating effect in the Amazon and Cerrado by giving the green light for illegal activities of large cattle ranchers, agribusinesses, mining and lumber companies to destroy protected forests and biodiversity in food production by small farmers and indigenous land,” said Maria Luisa Mendonça, Network for Social Justice and Human Rights, Brazil.
According to Ibrahim Coulibaly from the National Coordination of Peasant Organisations in Mali, member of La Via Campesina, “Land grabbing is state banditry; it's about seizing or taking over the only resource that poor people have left and giving it those who already have too much, those who are already extremely rich. And that is not acceptable.”
The joint statement calls instead for a renewed focus on genuine agrarian reform and agricultural investment that supports small-holder farmers to produce on their own lands through agro-ecological means.
The statement, “It's time to outlaw land grabbing, not to make it 'responsible'!” can be found online here
Henry Saragih, La Via Campesina, Indonesia: +62-811655668
Devlin Kuyek, GRAIN, Canada: +1-514-5717702
Shalmali Guttal, Focus on the Global South, Thailand: +66-2-2187383/4/5
Kirtana Chandrasekaran, Friends of the Earth Interantional, UK : +44-79-61986956
Sofia Monsalve, FIAN, Germany: +49-62216530030
Maria Luisa Mendonça, Network for Social Justice and Human Rights, Brazil: +55-11-81679951
Mar 14, 2011
The costs of segregating genetically modified (GM) and conventional crops are much higher than originally thought, and could push up food prices, warns Friends of the Earth Europe in a new briefing.
'The socio-economic effects of GMOs' reveals the hidden costs of GM crop cultivation that are being unfairly pushed onto conventional and organic sectors – risking further GMO-contamination and increased food prices – and comes as environment ministers meet to discuss GM-crops in Europe.
Environment ministers will assess the legality of banning the cultivation of GM-crops on their territories, but the discussion must take into account the full social and economic impacts of growing GM crops, and not be based on industry-biased models.
Mute Schimpf food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe says:
"The true environmental and economic costs of GM-crops must be taken into account when discussing GM-crop cultivation in Europe. The biotech industry must be held accountable for damage done through cross contamination – the costs must not be unfairly pushed onto farmers, consumers and taxpayers."
European policy relies on the assumption that non-GMO stakeholders in the food industry pay for all measures to secure their GMO-free status. Official EU research concludes that the segregation of GM-crops from conventional products could increase product costs by up to 13%, but the real figure is far higher.
New research from Friends of the Earth Europe shows key costs involved in segregation are not reflected in EU research. The costs incurred for maintaining GMO and conventional separation, including monitoring and testing, far outweigh any projected economic benefits of lower production costs.
Mute Schimpf added:
"99.9 percent of European land remains GM-free, and widespread opposition to genetically modified crops and foods in Europe continues to grow. GM-crops will hinder, not help, in the challenge to ensure we can feed a growing global population. Decision makers must call for an end to further GM-crop cultivation in Europe – ensuring a vibrant rural economy and greener farming."
Friends of the Earth Europe calls for a moratorium on all GMO cultivation approvals until the socio-economic impact assessment of GMOs is integrated into the EU approval system, alongside strict and compulsory anti-contamination measures in all European countries. All costs to prevent GM-contamination must be covered by the polluters.
Mar 01, 2011
Governments are being forced to protect farmers and citizens from genetically modified crops (GM crops) to combat biotech corporations’ stranglehold over farmers, and health scares from escalating pesticide use, according to our latest report.
The report, launched on the eve of the release of industry-sponsored figures on the adoption of GM crops, highlights how even pro-GM governments in South America and the United States have been forced to take steps to mitigate the negative impacts of GM crops on farmers, citizens and the environment.
In South America, the Brazilian Government has launched a GM-free soy programme to help farmers access non-GM soy seeds. In Argentina new research has exposed that the herbicide Glyphosate, used on the majority of GM crops grown worldwide, could have severe negative impacts on human health. This has led to bans on spraying of the herbicide near people’s homes. In Uruguay, local areas are declaring themselves GM-free.
Friends of the Earth International Food Sovereignty coordinator Martin Drago said,
"Farmers and citizens in South America are bearing the burden of ten years of GM crops with widespread health disasters and rising costs. The myths on which the biotech industry is built are crumbling.
The havoc wreaked across South America shows that this technology is not compatible with sustainable farming. It is a wake up call for the rest of the world to move towards more ecological methods of farming."
Read "Who Benefits from GM crops? An industry built on myths"