Guatemala City, 13 Sept (EFE).- Dozens of Guatemalan small farmers protested on Wednesday against the possible approval of a bill they call the “Monsanto Law,” an initiative that, according to them, threatens the “ancestral heritage of indigenous seeds, corn and other foods.”
“We reject this initiative because it seeks to privatize our seeds, which have been the heritage of our grandparents for more than 8,000 years,” Paulina Caal, a member of the National Network for the Defense of Food Sovereignty (Redsag), told EFE.
The farmers blocked the main entrance to Congress, located in the center of the Guatemalan capital, as a form of pressure against the deputies who will meet today at a technical table to discuss Initiative 6283, the Law for the Protection of Vegetable Breeding.
This initiative, presented on September 6 by pro-government deputies, aims to create a legal framework to protect the acquisition and production of transgenic seeds in the Central American country.
“This initiative is the reactivation of the Monsanto law approved in 2014, which was repealed due to popular pressure because it was shown that they were privatizing seeds,” Caal said.
According to the farmers, the bill could have a negative economic impact on rural communities, since they would have to buy seeds from authorized outlets, instead of saving them up for the next harvest, in order to continue producing.
This Tuesday, FCN-Nación deputy Julio César Longo denied in a radio program that the law intends to privatize seeds, asserting that it is about “registering varieties and protecting them.”
In Guatemala, 61% of the population is dedicated to agriculture and it is the most important economic activity, contributing annually 14% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to private studies. EFE