Quantcast

Venezuela Bans GMO Crops, Passes One of World's Most Progressive Seed Laws

Food

Venezuela approved a new law on Dec. 23, 2015, that imposes one of the world's toughest regulations on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The anti-GMO and anti-patenting seed law was approved by the National Assembly of Venezuela in its final session. Today, the new opposition coalition—the Roundtable of Democratic Unity—will take over.

The Seed Law seeks to consolidate national food sovereignty, regulate the production of hybrid seed, and rejects the production, distribution and import of GMO seeds, according to GMWatch. The law will also ban transgenic seed research.

The law will establish the National Seed System, a central body that will implement the new law. The group will monitor and sanction any agricultural violations, with a focus on the protection of traditional seeds, teleSUR reported.

The legislation, which comes after years of collective grassroots efforts, was promptly signed by Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro.

"Approval of the Seed Law was pending since last year after being proposed through a national dialogue process in 2013," teleSUR reported. "Public consultations have sought popular input on the law, and campesinos [farmers] and environmental advocates have long urged for its approval."

Here is Article 1 of the law, as laid out by the Centre for Research on Globalization, which described the new rule as "one of the most progressive seed laws in the world":

The present Law has as its objective to preserve, protect, and guarantee the production, propagation, conservation, and free circulation and use of seed, as well as the promotion, research, distribution, and commercialization of the same, based on a socialist agroecological vision, with the aim of consolidating our food security and sovereignty, prohibiting the release, the use, the propagation, and the entrance into the country and the national production of transgenic seeds as well as the patents and right of the breeder over the seed, in a manner that is sovereign, democratic, participatory, co-responsible and in solidarity, making special emphasis on the valorization of the Indigenous, afro-descendent, peasant and local seed, that benefits biodiversity and helps to preserve life on the planet in conformity with what is established in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Article 2 lays out the Seed Law's six major goals:

1. Promote the transition from conventional systems of production based on monoculture and the use of agrochemicals with agro-industrial and/or corporate seed for conventional use, to an agroecological system and the preservation of the environment in the short, medium and long term, based on agro-biodiversity.

2. Promote the production of seeds that are necessary to guarantee national production, with the goal of avoiding importation and achieving national sovereignty.

3. Promote the transition to communal and eco-socialist agriculture, in order to protect agro-biodiversity by means of the production of local, peasant, Indigenous and Afro-descendant seed.

4. Revalorize and re-legitimize the local, traditional and ancestral knowledge wisdom, beliefs and practices of the peasant, Indigenous, Afro-descendant and other communities.

5. Prohibit the privatization of seed.

6. Orient the organization and planning of public policy in function of the different scales of production, distinguishing the policies intended for family agriculture or polyculture in small-scale production from the policies intended for big producers.

The new Seed Law provides the conditions to produce food “under an agro-ecological model that respects the pacha mama [mother earth] and the right of our children to grow up healthy, eating healthy,” Maduro said on his television show in December 2015.

However, implementation of the Seed Law is likely to prove difficult. The slew of legislation approved by the outgoing United Socialist Party of Venezuela bloc during their final December 2015 session was called “unconstitutional” by the newly elected Roundtable of Democratic Unity coalition, according to a Venezuelanalysis report.

“The effects of this session are invalid,” a coalition legislator Alfonso Marquina said. The group won a key two-thirds majority that enables it to to challenge Maduro.

The opposition party has vowed to “reestablish order and the Constitution in the new year.”

Nonetheless, as Venezuelanalysis noted, the Supreme Court ruled that the outgoing parliament can pass legislation up until today.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Is Chipotle a Victim of Corporate Sabotage?

California’s Largest Tribe Bans GMO Crops and Genetically-Engineered Salmon

Agrichemical Industry ‘Attack Dog’ Hired to Discredit Teenage Anti-GMO Activist

5 Things Monsanto Doesn’t Want You to Know About the GMO Labeling Debate

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) speaks during the North American Building Trades Unions Conference at the Washington Hilton April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson / Getty Images

Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Read More Show Less
Foto-Rabe / Pixabay

When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.

Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A crate carrying one of the 33 lions rescued from circuses in Peru and Columbia is lifted onto the back of a lorry before being transported to a private reserve on April 30, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.

Read More Show Less
A tornado Monday in Union City, Oklahoma. TicToc by Bloomberg / YouTube screenshot

Extreme weather spawned 18 tornadoes across five states Monday, USA Today reported. Tornadoes were reported in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arizona, but were not as dangerous as forecasters had initially feared, the Associated Press reported.

Read More Show Less
A woman walks in front of her water-logged home in Sriwulan village, Sayung sub-district of Demak regency, Central Java, Indonesia on Feb. 2, 2018. Siswono Toyudho / Anadolu Agency /Getty Images

A new study has more than doubled the worst-case-scenario projection for sea level rise by the end of the century, BBC News reported Monday.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Matt Cardy / Stringer / Getty Images

The Guardian is changing the way it writes about environmental issues.

Read More Show Less
Blueberry yogurt bark. SEE D JAN / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Having nutritious snacks to eat during the workday can help you stay energized and productive.

Read More Show Less
A 2017 flood in Elk Grove, California. Florence Low / California Department of Water Resources

By Tara Lohan

It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.

Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.

Read More Show Less