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7-Misc: Brasilian state Rio Grande do Sul wants to stay GMO-free

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TITLE:  GMO-free state - Rio Grande do SulL, Brazil
SOURCE: GAIA Foundation, UK, by Tanja Green,
DATE:   May 12, 1999

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13-15 MAY 1999

The Secretary of Agriculture of Rio Grande do Sul, Mr. Jose
Hermetto Hoffman will be in London this week to get international
support for the State's decision to become a GMO Free Zone.

On 1st January 1999, "Partido does Trabalhadores" (PT), the
workers party came to power in the State. The Government has as
one of its main priorities a strong agricultural policy with the
objective of  sustainable agriculture, support to small farmers
and sees GMO's as a serious hazard to the environment and food
security . The State has the goal of chemical input reduction. On
election, the Government immediately announced its decision for
the State to become a GMO-free zone.

A draft bill is going through the State Assembly to implement the
decision. Technical consultants are investigating systems to
ensure testing and certification can be carried out and border
controls in place to prevent illegal entry of seeds and produce
from Uruguay, Argentina and other Brazilian States.

The recent decision by major retailers and manufacturers to go
GMO free is a significant boost to this decision  and to
guarantee that there will be a GMO-free market.

The Delegation also  includes: Antonio Wunsch, President of
Cotrimaio, (Small Farmers Soya Bean Cooperative), Marta Levian,
Head of the Plant Monitoring Unit, Bureau of Agriculture Mr.
Elvino Gass and Mr. Alexandre Postal, Deputies of Rio Grande do
Sul, State Assembly Maria Jose Guazelli, from Centro Ecologica,
an organisation working on sustainable development issues Alvaro
Delatorre the Movimento dos Sem Terra (Landless Peasants

Meetings have been arranged with the trade and animal feed
associations (GAFTA and UKASTA), supermarkets, the Minister of
the Environment, Mr. Michael Meacher, and Mr. Morley Minister for
Fisheries and the Countryside, Joan Ruddock, MP  is hosting a
cross party  meeting in House of Commons and has tabled  an Early
Day Motion , Christian Aid and the UK Food Group are hosting a

                      RIO GRANDE DO SUL
most Southern State of Brazil, border Uruguay and Argentina

AREA:        280,000 square kilometres
POPULATION:  9.6 million inhabitants
             6% of the total Brazilian population
             21 % of which are  rural
MAJOR CROPS: rice, tobacco, soybean, maize, grape

Brazil is the second largest soybean producer in the world
producing 30 million tons per year. Rio Grande do Sul produces
20% of the Brazilian production. Transgenic Soybean tolerant to
Round up was approved by the Biosafety Commission in September
1998. However, commercial release depends on the decision of the
Ministry of Agriculture. A decision is expected before the next
growing season in July.

The Rio Grande do Sul GMO-FREE ZONE needs to be place by July. It
will be able to provide at least 5 million tons of soybean to the
European market.

Table 1: Soybean production (1,000 tons) in Brazil and in its
         five main grower States

Soybean Producers   95/96  96/97  97/98  98/99*	 % of total 98/99
BRASIL             23,190	26,160	31,356	31,480

Rio Grande do Sul   4,402  4,770  6,616  6,400  20.3
Parana              6,241  6,566  7,130  7,425  23.6
Mato Grosso do Sul  2,046  2,156  2,282  2,650   8.4
Mato Grosso         4,687  5,721  6,916  6,300  20.0
Gaios               2,046  2,478  3,372  3,325  10.6
*Source: Conab


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