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7-Misc: 18 Brazilian States call to halt commercial releases of GMOs

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TITLE:  18 Brazilian States call on the federal government
        to halt commercial releases of GMOs
SOURCE: GAIA Foundation, UK, Tanya Green,
        information provided by Angela Cordiero, EMATER
        Biodiversity Consultant to Rio Grande do Sul State
DATE:   May 12, 1999

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A meeting was held at the National Forum of Secretaries of
Agriculture in Recife, the capital of the State of Pernambuco on
5 May 1999, entitled "Potential Impacts of Transgenic Plants".

A surprise motion was passed, which calls on the Federal
Government to publish a legal instrument called a "Portaria" to
forbid the commercial release of GMOs while concerns pending are
outstanding. 18 States of the 27 Brazilian states were
represented. The representatives of the Bureaux of Agriculture
unanimously passed the motion.

The pending concerns are:
1. Lack of risk assessment studies
2. Lack of information regarding potential impacts on human and
   animal health
3. Lack of institutional capacity at both at Federal and State
   level to deal with inspection, research and monitoring of GMOs
4. Lack of biosafety research
5. Lack of facilities/capacity for GMO detection
6. Insufficient independent research carried out in Brazil
   regarding environmental impacts
7. Increased interest from Europe in the Brazilian market as a
   source of GM-Free Agricultural Products
8. Budgetary constraints to fulfil some of the above matters
9. Substantial changes in the structure of the national seed
   market, as a result of approval of transgenic crops, and
   creation of cartels.

The Secretary of Agriculture of the State of  Rio Grande do Sul,
Mr. Jose Hermetto Hoffmann, gave a presentation to explain his 
own State Governments' decision  to enforce a GMO Free Zone State

The contrary position was put by a representative of the
Brazilian Biosafety Commission (CTNBio) which has already
approved Monsanto's Roundup Ready Soya.

The Chair of the Forum asked the representatives of Rio Grande do
Sul to submit a Motion from the assembly to send to the Federal
Ministry of Agriculture. This motion from the notoriously
conservative Forum  is a powerful message to the  Brazilian
Government. Could other State's in Brazil follow the example of
Rio Grande do Sul and declare their states GMO free?

Head of the Forum:
Mr. Francisco Heraldo Alves Vasconcelos
Secretary of Agriculture, Food Supply and Irrigation of Piaui
Tel: +55 86 213 1410
Fax: +55 86 213 1415


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