Monsanto Bt Cotton in Colombia

Gonzalo Palomino, Tolima University

Nuevo Dia, June 11, 2002

A huge international scandal is brewing in Colombia. It seems that the National Biosafety Technical Council of the Colombian
Food Institute (ICA) selected a Monsanto functionary as Vice-President at the March 15 meeting. It then proceeded to
approve a request to release the transgenic plaguicide Bt cotton, produced by Monsanto, for commercial use.

German Velez, Director of the Seed Program, has launched an international campaign to stop this action…and has invited all
true Colombians to send a letter to responsible officials demanding authorization for bt cotton be revoked and a moratorium
on genetically modified organisms be imposed in Colombia.

What makes the most money?

The technology behind Bt cotton has been questioned in the United States. A study by the University of North Carolina found
that the cost of pesticides and the damage caused by planting Bollgard cotton made it more expensive to grow than
conventional cotton by two dollars per acre. 

All the technology used to support Bt cotton is controlled by Mosanto, as is that of RR soy. Countries such as Colombia only
have access to this technology through strict laws and contracts regulated by the Intellectual Property Law –keeping farmers
in the stronghold of these multinationals.

Agriculture without farmers

Bt cotton in Colombia could bring about the same phenomena as RR soy in Argentina. In Argentina, Monsanto controlled
100% of the seeds used for planting soya, putting 600,000 farmers out of business. Food production moved from the hands
of national farmers to that of multinational corporations, leading to an agricultural economy without farmers. 

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