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.