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Daily CSR

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The Pope Raises His Voice Against GM Crops



08/31/2015

The papal encyclical shows ecclesiastic support in the fight against GM crops.


Dailycsr.com – 11 August 2015 – The Pope Francis “condemns” the practice of genetically modified crops in his encyclical that was issued in the environment’s interest, the first ever of its kind to be dedicated the planet earth. He looked down upon GMO’s “social, economic and agricultural impacts” and urged for a “broad scientific debate”.
 
The papal encyclical writes:
“(although) no conclusive proof exists that GM cereals may be harmful to human beings… (yet) there remain a number of significant difficulties which should not be underestimated.”

“In many places, following the introduction of these crops, productive land is concentrated in the hands of a few owners due to ‘the progressive disappearance of small producers, who, as a consequence of the loss of the exploited lands, are obliged to withdraw from direct production’”.
 
Consequently, farmers are reduced to a state of being nothing more than “labourers”, while “oligopolies” continue to reign cereal production whereby destroying the eco-system. In the Pope’s words:
“A broad, responsible scientific and social debate…one capable of considering all the available information and of calling things by their name... (for) It sometimes happens that complete information is not put on the table; a selection is made on the basis of particular interests, be they politico-economic or ideological.”
 
Debates are not encouraged in biotechnology fields to the extent that the industry has “refused” to share their data base for any verification, while the encyclical urges on:

“Discussions are needed in which all those directly or indirectly affected (farmers, consumers, civil authorities, scientists, seed producers, people living near fumigated fields, and others) can make known their problems and concerns, and have access to adequate and reliable information in order to make decisions for the common good, present and future.”
 
This document reinforces the support towards Mexico and other countries that are fighting against “transgenic crops”. Argentina being the home country of the Pope, which introduced GMOs and altered traditional agricultural practices, allowed him an exposure to the topic. Almost, 98% of Argentina’s leading crop, Soy, is transgenic covering an area of “31 million hectares”. This “monoculture” crop, says Argentine agronomist, has pushed the local producers out of the market and set in a “vicious circle” which is harmful for sustainable production.
 
In the month of July 2013, twenty civil society and fifty three individuals came together to launch a “collective legal challenge ” against the commercial practice of “transgenic maize”, whereby a federal judge proclaimed a “precautionary ban” on such endorsement sometimes in last September.
 
There have additional case won in favour of indigenous agricultural practices, whereby issuing “provisional protection orders against commercial transgenic soybean crops in the southeastern states of Campeche and Yucatán”. Moreover, Pope Francis received a letter from six scientists which stated:
“…we believe that it would be of momentous importance and great value to all if Your Holiness were to express yourself critically on GM crops and in support of peasant farming. This support would go a long way toward saving peoples and the planet from the threat posed by the control of life wielded by companies that monopolise seeds, which are the key to the entire food web…”
 
As anybody could guess, the Pope did answer through his encyclical. However, legal supports have taken any action to curb the industry of biotech in Mexico.
 
 
 
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