At least 60% of the soybeans grown in Canada are genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered). Most to of the GM soy grown in Canada ends up as ingredients in processed food or animal feed.
Leydy Pech has been awarded the 2020 Goldman Environmental Award. Leydy is an indigenous Mayan beekeeper who led a coalition that successfully halted Monsanto’s planting of genetically modified soybeans in southern Mexico. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled unanimously that the government violated the constitution when it did not consult Indigenous communities before the planting of GM soy. In September 2017, Mexico’s Food and Agricultural Service revoked Monsanto’s permit to grow genetically modified soybeans in seven states. Watch the short video about the stuggle led by Leydy Pech.
Dicamba and 2,4-D-Tolerant Soy
Glyphosate and glyphosate-tolerant crops are reaching the end of their life cycle for many farmers due to the emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds. With no new herbicides on the horizon, the seed and pesticide industry is encouraging farmers to use other herbicides and to adopt new GM crops that are tolerant to the older herbicides 2,4-D and dicamba (often these are stacked with tolerance to multiple herbicides). Canada was the first country in the world, in 2012, to approve 2,4-D-tolerant crops and a dicamba-tolerant soy.
- DowDupont (Corteva) is selling GM soy (2018) that is tolerant to 2,4-D and glyphosate (Enlist™).
- Monsanto launched (2017) a GM soy that is tolerant to dicamba and glyphosate (Roundup ReadyTM Xtend™).
CBAN Factsheet: Genetically Modified Crops and Herbicides. December 2020
“The greatest emerging threat to Amazon rainforests and communities is industrial soy plantations…Biodiesel made from soya oil is taking over huge areas of Brazil’s farmland, savannah and forest, with harvests surging from 1.5 million tons in 1970 to 57m in 2006. Soy production has already destroyed 21 million hectares of forest in Brazil, and 80 million hectares, including portions of the Amazon basin, remain that are suitable”- February 12, 2008, from Climate Ark Action Alert: Global Ecological Emergency: Brazil Must Succeed in Keeping Soybeans Out of Amazon
GM Soy in Paraguay
In Paraguay, less than 2% of the population owns 70% of the land. The expansion of GE soy is now one of the main causes of land conflict, and one of the principal reasons for the increasing number of landless peasants. You may have seen the devastation wrought by expanding monocultures of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) herbicide tolerant soy shown in the film “The World According to Monsanto.“
In Paraguay, soy monoculture is taking land and livelihoods away from small-scale farmers. Rural, indigenous communities are frequently threatened with violent evictions from their land to make way for soy monoculture and pesticide poisonings have become a serious health issue.
“Ongoing human rights violations in Paraguay go hand in hand with the advancement of soy monocultures. Agribusiness corporations knowingly take advantage of the fact that in Paraguay corruption florishes, while environmental regulations or human rights are not respected” – Javiera Rulli (Paraguay) speaker “Crops, Cars & Climate Crisis”
Rural eastern Paraguay used to be full of jungle, small farms, schools and wildlife. Now it is a green sea of soybeans. This is what La Via Campesina call the green deserts.
Can genetically engineered soy – grown with large amounts of agri-chemicals – ever be called ‘responsible’? The damage that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soy has done in countries such as Argentina and Paraguay is enormous. Despite that, this very same soy will be labelled ‘responsible’ by The Round Table on Responsible Soy. Because this Round Table is supported by the World Wildlife Fund, GM toxic soy will be provided with a green image. Declaring GM products ‘responsible’ is a dangerous step that legitimises the further growth of toxic soy cultivation and will not protect the rainforest from further destruction. Read more at www.toxicsoy.org.
‘La Soja Mata’ (Soy Kills) campaign: La Soja Mata is a project supported by the organisations ASEED Europe and Corporate Europe Observatory. Some of us live or have worked in Paraguay and Argentina. This has resulted in many contacts with local people and organisations.