Jose Luis Chicoma reports for Food Tank
“The most biodiverse region on the planet, Latin America is an agroindustrial superpower that exports fully one fourth of its total production. By contrast, another agricultural superpower, Asia, exports only 6 percent of its production. Still Latin America has never succeeded in tapping into its agricultural wealth to adequately feed its population. At the moment, at least six countries in the region are in the throes of a food crisis, with nearly 268 million Latin Americans currently feeling the effects of food insecurity, with many millions more sure to join their ranks in the coming months.
The countries in crisis—Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela—find themselves in this situation as a result of economic recessions, natural or climate-related disasters, waves of violence or widespread delinquency. On top of that, the invasion of Ukraine and resulting spike in energy costs, as well as the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic and a series of climate shocks have sparked one more perfect storm that is plunging millions more Latin Americans into hunger… Since the colonization, the Spanish favored producing export commodities, such as sugar, over basic staples aimed at feeding the local population. A similar logic applied to a string of other commodities, including bananas, coffee, and cacao, as well as grains and meat. More recently, Green Revolution-style agriculture has taken hold throughout much of the region, with large swaths of land given over to this fertilizer- and pesticide-heavy production. Argentina and Brazil have bet big on genetically modified soy and corn, which is exported to feed pigs and cattle in developed countries and China. Monocultures also predominate, such as sugar, which is used to produce ethanol, and palm oil, a key ingredient in ultra-processed foods…”
Learn more: Latin America’s Food Paradox
by Organic Consumers Association – From the Organic and Non-GMO Report:
“As the European Union is preparing to decide on whether and how to deregulate new GMOs, Slow Food looks at the most frequent claims made by the biotechnology and seed industry to promote new GMOs and their deregulation. Spoiler: they’re misleading, if not deceptive.
Myth #1: Changes brought by new GM techniques (or “genome editing”) to alter plants are the same as what could happen in nature or with conventional breeding.
Myth #2: New GMOs will help reduce the use of pesticides, including herbicides.
Myth #3: We need new GMOs to feed our ever-growing population.
Myth #4: New GM techniques make precise and controlled changes to the DNA, with predictable outcomes.
Myth #5: New GMOs are vital to adapt agriculture to climate change.
The article concludes: “We don’t need more GM supposedly ‘climate-ready-crops’, we need climate-ready agroecological systems founded on proven methods, which also ensure farmers’ sovereignty free from patents. This requires choosing the right crops for the right location and conditions, planting a diversity of crops, and building healthy soils that retain moisture in dry conditions and prevent flooding in wet conditions.”
Learn more: Busting the Myths on New GMOs