BUENOS AIRES – For the first time in 20 years, the Argentine government has opened a way for citizens to air their views on its plan to allow the introduction of new genetically modified (GMO) seeds into the country, officials told EFE.
The first GMO crop under citizens’ supervision, a kind of soy, is supplied by the Argentine affiliate of the multinational Monsanto agrochemical and agricultural biotech corporation, and is characterized by being resistant to the weed-killing herbicides dicamba and glyphosate.
In its report on the second phase of evaluation, Conabia, a commission of the Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery Ministry, stated that “the risks of that genetically modified soy to the agricultural ecosystem, in large-scale crops, do not differ significantly from those inherent in crops of non-GMO soy.”
However, environmentalist organizations do not agree with that evaluation and warn about the toxic effects of using both herbicides, about which the World Health Organization, or WHO, said last March that glyphosate could “possibly” be a cause of cancer.
Citizens can send their written opinions about this new GMO by e-mail or present them in person to the Agriculture Ministry until next Sept. 30, the head of biotechnology at Conabia, Martin Lema, told EFE.
The experts will then judge whether “it is worth reviewing the Conabia (National Advisory Commission on Agricultural Biotechnology) report,” he said.
The decision to accept comments on products of this kind has already been applied in places like the United States, the European Union and Uruguay, and forms part of the “democratization” of the Agriculture Ministry, the official said.
According to Lema, Argentina has approved up to now “30 different genetically modified food crops.”