Ecuador News

Law suit challenges Ecuador’s new ‘seed law,’ saying it opens the door to transgenic seeds and products

Four indigenous, environmental and educational organizations have filed a suit against Ecuador’s new seed law (la ley de semillas) claiming that it will allow the entry of transgenic seeds into the country, threatening native seed varieties and public health.

Suit is delivered to the Constitutional Court.

Carlos Pérez Guartambel, president of the Ecuarunari indigenous group, says the law not only affects the livelihoods of small farmers, many of them indigenous, but poses a health danger to all Ecuadorians. “It allows into the country products and seed stocks that will result in an increase in cases of cancer and other diseases.”

Pérez said the law was “forced” through the National Assembly by former president Rafael Correa over the objections of Ecuador’s small farmers. “It was part of his regime of oppression against the people of Ecuador and our suit demands that it be rescinded in the interest of national health.”

In addition to Ecuarunari, the suit is supported by the indigenous group Pachamama,  the National Union of Educators and the Ecological Action Front.

  • Frank Penny

    Keep out GMOs. Next thing you know, we’ll have glyphosate sprayed all over our crops, too. Leave Ecuador alone; keep it away from this garbage.

    • Michael Berger

      I agree completely, also it is in violation of the 2008 constitution as originally passed. Until such a time as GMO’s are better and safer than natural products (we’re talking decades or centuries if ever) then we must continue to fight against them. We must not allow multinational corporations to profit by experimenting on us.

  • StillWatching

    “It allows into the country products and seed stocks that will result in an increase in cases of cancer and other diseases.”

    There isn’t a shred of science behind this allegation. It is the way the anti-GMO crowd spreads their nonsense. It plays well with the Vilcabamba Tin Foil Hatters, but of course their lives aren’t guided by science based information but rather, superstition and rumor.

    “Oh wow, man, did you see that chemtrail over Vilca last night?”

    “No, I was busy at the Agenda 21meeting all night”

    “Okay, I’ll see you later at the seminar about the Rods of God info session that will explain how the CIA caused last years earthquake on the coast”

    “Far out. Namaste”

    • Cheryl Baldwin

      Stillwatching- you are not correct. There is more and more evidence showing that GMO is not healthy. Other countries have banned this. It requires MORE pesticides. It enslaves the farmers to the corporations, and sorry, but food grown in ground soaked Round-up is NOT healthy. The tin foil is on your head if you think food grown in pesticides, which also destroys the good insect population, contaminates not just the land, but the water – is a good thing. You are buying into the industrialized world propaganda. The science you are referring to is BAD science, used to further the agenda of multinational corporations. Don’t be so gullible!

      • Michael Berger

        As usual StillWatching is way out of his or her depth and making a bunch of strawman arguments that have nothing to do with the subject at hand. Just another fake Glen Beck style “Libertarian” repeating Monsanto talking points.

      • BDev

        SW – While we could discuss the science ad nauseum, FAR more important to me are the Actual Effects on the environment that Cheryl mentions. As well the perverse incentives built into the model itself. This is no way to run a sane food production operation.

        • lorenzo

          Cheryl’s argument supports organic farming. She’s confusing the issue. Using genetically modified crops does not require more pesticide use. If anything, less. Compared to the other types of herbicides that farmers use, roundup is one of the safest, both to the environment and to humans. I would be more concerned about food grown in ground soaked paraquat, than roundup. Google herbicide toxicity.
          GMO’s do not add additional Actual Negative Effects on the environment any more than what traditional, commercial farmers are already doing. You’ll lose the argument against GMO’s if your argument includes damage to the environment.

        • StillWatching

          Did you bother reading the links I presented? Especially the one that posits that gmo food production may aid in dealing with the global warming phenomenon. Or were you a naughty boy and just skipped over those links to maintain your scanning bias on this issue?

          Oh, and in addition to the links I posted, be sure to read Lorenzo’s two posts.

    • Jim Moury

      These people have apparently never heard of
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug
      The man credited with saving a billion human lives using…. wait for it…. GMOs. When people can’t separate multinational corporations from the science they abuse it goes to show that we have a long way to go teaching critical thought and reason to the masses.

      • StillWatching

        Amen

      • Captain_Eric

        I agree. Every time I look into the allegations with sincere curiosity, there’s nothing there. And I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’m just saying its worth researching into unbiased scientific studies.

        Besides, we’ve been cross fertilizing and creating hybrids since nearly the beginning of time. Just imagine if they were all taken away. People would go hungry.

  • lorenzo

    One main advantage of a genetically modified crop plant is it’s resistance to herbicides (weed killers). Ms. Baldwin’s comment about saving beneficial insects is not relevant. In fact, I would be surprised if there weren’t already modified crop plants that were resistant to insect pests. That would actually decrease the need to spray insecticides.
    When the intended crop is resistant to a certain herbicide, (it’s normally glyphosate) then the farmer can easily spray his/her whole field and only the weeds will die. Glyphosate is a handy chemical because it kills a wide range of weeds and it quickly breaks down in the environment. Growing a genetically modified crop will not increase the need to spray chemicals, unless the weeds become resistant. But that will happen anyway, no matter what chemical is repeatedly used. The problem with glyphosate, besides weeds becoming resistant, is that plants are very sensitive to it. One little whiff of roundup and your corn plant is DOA, if not genetically modified.
    The only other way that I know of to control weeds is through tillage. That’s the way we do it here in Ecuador in the corn field behind our house. But, it takes a family willing to hoe every day for a week, two times during the growing season. And, the corn field’s not even that big. Tilling the soil with machinery, as done on large commercial farms, often does more damage to the environment than what chemicals would do. Soil compaction, soil erosion, water pollution, and depletion of organic matter are some of the negative impacts of tillage.

    • StillWatching

      Facts? Logic? Reason? Common Sense? That’s a waste of time with the Tin Foil Hatters. They don’t deal in those commodities.

    • Jason Faulkner

      “Unless” the weeds become resistant is a misnomer. The only question is “when”. Current use of glyphosphate show it only takes a few seasons, at which time farmers have to increase glyphosphate use. Once a farmer is on that treadmill, there’s not much they can do about it because they don’t have any saved seeds to plant. You do not buy Round-up Ready seeds, you license them. It’s like software. You never own it, you only pay to use it under the conditions dictated by the manufacturer. Any violation of those conditions results in lawsuits that have been breaking farmers around the world for years. One of those conditions is you are not allowed to save or replant harvested seeds. It’s a silly way to run a food supply system and runs counter to everything farmers have been doing for 15,000 years.

  • BDev

    sss – Yeah, so no need to encourage loads more of it.
    FP & MB – 100% agreed. The world has plenty of land to conduct GMO experiments on. Sanity requires leaving as much pristine land as possible, as well.

  • StillWatching
  • StillWatching

    “Then we have the farmers applying herbicide just before harvest, to make
    their work slightly easier, and the residue comes along with the
    harvest..”

    Two thoughts there. First, doesn’t it seem to you that the problem lies with the farmers, not the herbicide?

    Second, you can’t show a shred of evidence to support your notion about the residue.

  • lorenzo

    I hesitate to get into a one on one because it’s boring to everyone else. But, here goes anyway.
    1. I challenge the statement that as resistance grows, more is applied. First, you’ll lose your pesticide application license. Second, good farmers look at the economics and will not apply more pesticide to achieve the same results. True, they will switch to another type of pesticide. They are already using other, more potent herbicides than glyphosate on non-GMO crops.
    2. Back to economics. No farmer in his/her right mind would apply herbicide right before harvest. The damage to a crop from weeds happens as the crop is beginning to grow.
    3. Soil health, which is one of the most important components of successful crop production, degrades much faster from erosion, soil structure loss from tillage, and loss of organic matter, than it does from herbicide application.
    4. I’m sorry to hear about your friend’s experience in Florida. I’ve worked with hundreds of commercial farmers who have been successful with this system.
    5. Don’t confuse debating the use of GMO’s with the benefits of organic farming.

    • BDev

      1. It happens anyway. Farmers get into a situation where they feel they don’t have much choice… it’s an economic death spiral, down and down, until they finally bail out. My Florida farmer friend tells me this. And this does not even take into account third world farming practices, where sometimes suicide is the preferred way out.
      2. Many do this in one form or another, esp with grains. They use it as a dessicant. Makes harvest ‘cleaner’ and more uniform. Some say they don’t do it (https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/03/24/does-herbicide-glyphosate-make-wheat-toxic-science-farmers-say-no/);
      other say they do (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/11/roundup-dumped-crops-right-harvest.html).
      The “we don’t do it” folks say they are sticklers for ‘correct’ timing of applications, correct amounts applied, correct seed dryness before spraying, they wait for correct weather conditions, etc. The reality: I seriously doubt it. And in any case, the glyphosate crap is most definitely in the guts and tissues of all animals, including humans, that are exposed or dine on this junk: https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/detection-of-glyphosate-residues-in-animals-and-humans-2161-0525.1000210.pdf

      3. Soil health relies on billions of microorganisms, many varieties of them. Kill them off, soil dies; turns to dirt.
      4. Regardless, this ‘system’ is not at all sustainable. Long-term soil degradation is built in. It’s a poorly designed ‘system’ from the outset. Perhaps priority was initially on good product, but eeking out every cent of profit from a declining micro-ecosystem (the farm) has displaced concerns of quality and sustainability.
      5. Sure, organic-style farmers could theoretically use GMO crops on their farms. But as far as I know, none of them want the risks, expense, external controls, and more importantly the lack of viable seeds for next year. Plus, all organic farmers I know simply love their work, love Nature, and wish to encourage regeneration of their land in all respects. My Florida friend is both literally sick and emotionally sick about his career, and his land. He says he feels like a slave to it, and a slave to those who control more and more of his working life. Last year he began showing early signs of lymphomas, and he’s quite bummed about his whole situation.

      Seems to me that rather than get caught up in niggling debates about the safety of GMO or the efficacy of perfectly timed herbicide/fungicide/pesticide applications or the costs and legalities of all of it, better to step up a few levels, look down at the big picture and ask oneself what the h*ll am I doing, and why am I doing it. If my love of farming stems from a loving and working partnership with Nature, based on a kind of spiritual connection to it, then clearly I am WAY off track. So, two responses: Get back on track, and determine how I got sucked away from my original purpose… and not let that happen again.

  • Jason Faulkner

    Amen to everything in this post.