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Argentine city fight (and lose) against glyphosate

An Argentine city dared to the use of the controversial weed killer, glyphosate on its territory, to prohibit. But after only two weeks was killed in the prohibition, under pressure from the agricultural producers.

A sojaveld, also known as a ‘green desert’. © Getty Images/iStockphoto

Also read: How meat-eaters are (unconsciously) soy food

The city council of Rosario, in the heart of the soybean production in Argentina, issued last month unanimously adopted a ban on glyphosate, and based on a study by the International Agency for research on Cancer (IARC) of the world health organization (WHO). That called the weed killer two years ago as “probably carcinogenic”.

Glyphosate in the EU

The Argentine farmers were in november especially concerned about the question of whether the European Union the license for the use of glyphosate, whether or not it would extend. A negative decision would have a major economic impact on Argentina, but the EU decided on 27 november the license for five years to extend.

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“This shows who really is boss.’

The decision of Rosario, they had not seen coming. Three days after the decision of Brussels attracted the farmers to the city council of Rosario. They tried the councillors to convince that there is no scientific ground for such a prohibition to be justified.

Sojalobby

A few hours later, confessed to the councillors that they were not sufficiently on the issue were debated. It immediately became a new rule drawn up: glyphosate may be used, provided that some precautions.

“We regret that the council take a step back and have put after their commendable decision to have the health and the living environment of the inhabitants of Rosario to protect”, says a group of more than a dozen environmental organizations in a statement. ‘They have succumbed to the pressure of the sojalobby. It shows who really is boss.’

Transgenic soy

In 2016, it was the Argentine their agricultural exports are good for $ 24 billion, almost half of the total export value. The country sells mostly soybean meal, corn oil and soybean oil abroad.

Argentina approved in 1996, the commercial cultivation of transgenic soy, which is resistant to glyphosate. Since then, the controversial weed killer good for more than half of the used agrochemicals in the country.

“The Argentine agriculture in the last decades, severe changes,” says Emilio Satorre, professor and researcher at the faculty of agriculture of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). “He has his industrial model was consolidated, with a strong dominance of the soy, wheat and maïsteelt has replaced.’

Phenomenal expansion

‘The surface went from 15 to 36 million hectares, 60 to 65 percent of which is occupied by the transgenic soybean and the use of phytosanitary products has tripled.’ Monsanto, the American multinational that glyphosate, exclusive of manufactures, has a large branch in Argentina.

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“For me, it began when my daughter of three leukemia was determined. For years, we have been poisoned, and still people are sick.”

Direct sowing (seeding without tillage), glyphosate and transgenic soy together form the foundation upon which the phenomenal expansion of agriculture in this country of 44 million inhabitants. The farming there is now good for 13 percent of gdp.

Mothers of Ituzaingó

That growth was at the expense of millions of acres of grasslands in La Pampa, one of the most fertile areas in the world, in the centre of the country, and of native forests in El Chaco, the subtropical plains in the north. In addition, grew the farming so hard that he the outskirts of many urban areas has reached.

That is the case in Córdoba, the second largest city of the country. A group of women took there in 2002, the working-class neighborhood Ituzaingó on the national map. In their neighborhood were a lot of cases of cancer and deformities fixed. Them being glyphosate, that on the sojavelden close to their homes was used, with the finger.

Leukemia

The judge gave the Mothers of Ituzaingó equal and banned the use of glyphosate, less than 500 metres from the houses. An agricultural producer was a criminal conviction.

“For me, it began when my daughter of three leukemia was established,” says Norma Herrera. ‘Thank God she lives on still. Since 2008, spray they are no longer here. But for years, we have been poisoned, and still people are sick.”

One of the consequences of the struggle of the Mothers of Ituzaingó was the initial decision of the city council of Rosario to glyphosate ban.

“The next generation of Argentines will have to consider the costs and benefits of the current production model,” says Lilian Correa, that the department of Health and Environment results of the geneeskundefaculiteit of the UBA. “Now is not quantified what the impact is on health and the environment.’

Also read: How the demand for soybean allows for large-scale clear felling in Brazil

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