Governor Requião discards reintegration of ownership

2006-03-22 00:00:00

The reintegration of ownership of the area belonging
to the Swiss corporation Syngenta Seeds, occupied
since March 14 by peasants of La Via Campesina, will
not be put into effect until the Federal government
resolves the question of the corporation’s illegal
planting of transgenic soy. This is the position of
the governor of Paraná, Roberto Requião (PMDB),during
a meeting held with the members of La Via Campesina,
environmental groups, and NGOs such as Greenpeace and
the ETC Group.

In the lunch that was held on March 20 in the Iguaçu
Palace in Curitiba, participants spoke about the
action of Syngenta and about important questions
related to biodiversity that will be discussed in the
8th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on
Biological Diversity (COP-8), that began today in the

"The best thing the State can do is to not grant
reintegration of ownership to the corporation until
the federal government resolves the question of the
illegal planting", said Requião, who was in a good
mood during the meeting.

Six hundred rural workers of La Via Campesina are
occupying Syngenta’s experimental field in the
municipality of Teresa do Oeste, which produces soy
and experiments with transgenic corn. The planting of
transgenic soy is illegal in regions that are less
then 10 kilometers (km) from forest and indigenous

The Swiss corporation produces transgenics only 6 km
from Iguaçu National Park and was already sued by the
Brazilian Institute on the Environment and Renewable
Resources (IBAMA). The planting and sale of transgenic
corn is also illegal in Brazil. However, the Federal
Government has not taken any action at this point.

"The National Technical Commission on Biosecurity
alleges that its responsibility is to evaluate and
authorize studies for the Federal government with the
goal of overseeing how and where transgenics will be
planted. Therefore we have to pressure it", the
governor argues.

Roberto Baggio, of the national leadership of the
Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Paraná, believes
that the farmers have to give a social function to the
area of 12 hectares. "We want to transform the
property into a production unit for native seeds, a
model for all of Latin America".

For Baggio, the area is ideal for cultivating another
agricultural model, showing that alternatives exist to
the current destructive system. "Seeds are the basis
of human survival and should not be considered
commodities", he states.

The participants in the meeting also discussed the
moratorium that prevents the planting of sterile
terminator seeds, a central point in the COP-8
discussions. "The seed is life and to give a farmer a
sterile seed protected by patents is to give him
death", according to Governor Requião, who supports
maintaining the measure.

Pat Mooney, a researcher with the Group ETC, analyzes
that a quarter of the world’s population depends
directly on industrialized seeds. This shows the level
of dependence of the small farmers in relation to the
multinationals. "This means that the Terminator seeds
would cost around $R 7 billion with taxes and the
annual purchase of seeds", he argues.

Only the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and
Canada defend ending the moratorium but even then, the
situation is worsening because these countries are
important in the game of negotiations.