The Brazilian bloody war against Monsanto and Syngenta
March 18, 2008
In February, Syngenta – the world’s largest producer of herbicides and pesticides with control of one-third of the global commercial seed market – announced its 2007 sales amounted to US$ 9.2 billion. Latin America was Syngenta’s “star performer” in 2007, where sales of herbicides, pesticides, and seeds increased by 37% respectively, and sales in Brazil increased for all product lines.
An agricultural superpower, Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of ethanol, the largest producer of sugarcane ethanol, the second largest producer of soybeans (the country produced almost a fourth of the world’s soy crop in 2007), and the third largest producer of corn.
The country holds particular strategic importance to the biotechnology industry’s expansion. As global demand – and financial speculation – for Brazil’s agricultural commodities ramps up due to agrofuels and increasing food scarcity, Monsanto and Syngenta are determined to expand sales and market control of GM seeds, herbicides, and pesticides in Brazil – at whatever cost. That cost so far has involved large-scale illegal planting of GM crops, political strong-arming, favors, and even assassination. Yet the people, many who are members of the international farmers’ organization La Vía Campesina, refuse to give up.
Read the rest of Isabella Kenfield’s riveting report at http://www.brazzil.com/content/view/10048/1/