GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 19th September 2003

Co-existence does not work. GE crops cause environmental and social problems.

Minister Marian Hobbs told the Organic producers rally at parliament this week that Argentina was a wonderful example of co-existence, maintained diversity and harmony between the GE and Organic industry.

This is refuted by Lilian Joensen, Biologist PhD (molecular biologist) who says " In reality GM soy has been planted on 13 million hectares of land. It has destroyed forests and replaced traditional food crops. It has destroyed the biodiversity and led to the agony of a thousand rural communities. 

Crop spraying has been carried out using Glyphosate (e.g. Roundup), with additives of 24D and paraquat. This has polluted the water supplies causing health problems to the citizens. Producers have become leasors of their own land causing an emigration of rural workers. Almost 300,000 people have been expelled from their land and over 13,000,000 have impeded
mortgages. Co-existence, has polluted traditional maize in Mexico regardless of a GE ban.�

�How can anybody say that Argentina has been a success? Argentina started to plant Roundup Ready soya in 1997 and now we have 13 million hectares of RR soya, (between 95 and 99% of all soya in Argentina is now RRsoya),� she says. �Organic soya is imported to Argentina. I know small farmers who had really problems with keeping a few hectares for organic soya farming, so they just gave up. They had to go to RR soya.�

�A list of the resistant weeds to glyphosate that those who promoted RR soya have detailed themselves: Commelia erecta, Convulvulus arvensis (Bindweed), Ipomoea purpurea (Morning glory), Iresine difusa (Iresine), Hybanthus parviflorus (Violetilla), Parietaria debilis (Pellitory), Viola arvensis (Violet Wild), Petunia axillaris (Petunia), Verbena sp (Verbena). Tragopogon sp (goats beard), Senecio pampeanus (Ragwort) and Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion).�

�Chemicals now adopted in control of third generation GE crops and resistant weeds include 2,4D; 2,4DB; Paraquat; Atrazine; Paraquat; Metsulphuron Methyl; Imazethapyr�. 
�The insects that attack RR soya monoculture in Argentina are: Nezara viridula, Piezodorus guildinii, Edessa meditabunda, Dichelops furcatus. In order to fight them they use Endosulphan together with cipermetrine in air-fumigation (also glyphosate and other herbicides). Endosulphan and cipermetrine together are extremely toxic to bees, fishes and birds".

The poverty that has befallen Argentina through the introduction of crops reliant on agrochemicals has caused a catastrophe that need not be repeated in New Zealand.

GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment calls on the government to keep GE contained in laboratories. Our small country cannot cope with more biosecurity and chemical pollution problems.

Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842

"Biotechnology and the origins of the Argentine Catastrophe" Eduardo Rulli de Jorge, Ecopartal 11-09-02. Movimiento Campesino de Formosa ( Peasant Movement of Formosa) September 8th 2003.

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