GMO or GMO-free – the battle of the Brazilian Paranà state

August 9th, 2007 by eden

Silo Paranagua port
Pic above: Storage silo of Paranagua port (volume 100’000 tons). It became a national symbol for the Parana Government’s fight against GMO. The latest supreme court decision obliges Parana government to open the only silo within the Paranagua port for GMO grains. With this decision, the segregation of GMO and non-GMO agricultural products will become impossible…

GMO soy was illegal in Brazil until 2003 – everything planted before that was illegal and probably brought from Argentina. The GMO-seeds were not imported from Argentina – they were actually smuggled. Parana government have carried out lots of inspection tours since 2003 (after the GE-soy was authorized in Brazil) and stated many breaches of law: GMO was already planted wiedely within Parana…

Port of Paranagua – how long the last GMO-free port of Brazil?

The government of Parana still tries to keep their state GMO-free as possible. Since years there is a fierce battle between the government of Parana and the national government who is in favour of GMO large scale mechanical agricultural practices. Of strategic interest is the harbour of Paranagua – the largest bulk grain port in Latin America. Paranagua is the only port that has the intention of segregating GMO and Non-GMO material streams. Untill now it is the only state run GMO-free harbour of Brazil. They have faced lots of judicial challenges because of this and the decisions have come back and forth many times. Apparently, there is a very new supreme court order that obliges Parana government to open the only storage silo of the port for GMO-products. With this decree, the segregation of GMO-free soy free from GMO soy in entire Brazil will become impossible. The state of Parana still tries to legally fight back…

Silo Bunge/Socepar
pic above: Silo of Bunge/Socepar (volume 30’ooo tons). The company run silo doesn’t segregate GMO from Non-GMO. The grains spread over the harbour may be GMO.

Public opinion critical against GMO

Regarding public opinion, the most recent poll we got to know is from 2004. More than 70% were against the release into the environment, more than 90% were in favour of labelling, and more than 70% would not buy a GE product. The research was done by ISER Institute.

There is a national decree that states that every product made with more than 1% of GM ingredients should be labelled. This decree is from April 2004, but up to now has not been implemented. The enforcement of the decree should be done by Agricultural Secretaries in each state — but most of them do not have the political will to do it (because they are in favor of GMOs). Exception is the Agrucultural Secretary of the Parana state.

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