Chile: Von Baer Privatises Quinoa
GENETIC ENGINEERING, 23 May 2011
by Pía Figueroa – Pressenza Int’l Press Agency
The privatisation of Chilean seed has become a scandal and paves the way for the arrival of genetically modified products. After the realisation that, as well as the North American company Monsanto, the patents for Chilean crops are in the hands of people linked to the government who will now benefit from the privatisation of seed, as in the case of Ena Von Baer’s father.
The subject was brought into the open with questions of corruption when the representative for “Chile sin Transgénicos” (Chile without Genetically Modified Products), Christián Suavageot, reported on the “El Semáforo” programme on Radio Universidad de Chile, that of the total of more than 700 registered seeds, Quinoa now belongs to Erick Von Baer, the father of the minister for the Government General Secretariat, until 2016.
“Semillas Baer” has registered almost twenty varieties which include different types of oats, barley and a large variety of wheat.
Sauvageot highlighted that the controversial agreement is being ratified because it is part of the obligation of the free Trade Treaties that Chile signed, but this obligation does not consider other Treaties which protect the rights of farmers, who will now have to pay the patent owners in order to plant the products.
Sauvageot stressed the need for the new legislation to create a balance between plant breeders and farmers.
Moreover, a group of opposition senators will appeal to the Constitutional Court to block the announcement of the ratification of this Agreement.
The PPD senator, Jaime Quintana, explained to Radio Universidad de Chile that “Agreement 169 has constitutional status, and this rule which Chile has just approved is a treaty with legal status. With this difference and supremacy of one rule over another, we must look at what Agreement 169 says, when rights are going to be ignored or practices are going to come into force, in this case the farming world, particularly among the indigenous community, the communities must be consulted. This was not done in this case, instead they voted without listening to genuine representations from the farming community, both indigenous and non-indigenous”.
Parliament stressed that this Agreement did not legally require ratification, and this was only done due to pressure from large economic groups who want to produce genetically modified food in Chile (like Monsanto), which corresponds to the background debate.
Translated from Spanish by Kirsty Cumming
DISCLAIMER: In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article: