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9-Misc: Brazil small farmers and peasants occupied experimental GE soy field



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  La Via Campesina occupies an area planted with illegal transgenic
        seeds in Paraná
SOURCE: La Via Campesina, Brazil, Press Release
DATE:   16 Mar 2006

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La Via Campesina occupies an area planted with illegal transgenic seeds
in Paraná

On Tuesday morning (March 14), around 1000 small farmers and peasants
from La Via Campesina movement occupied a field in Santa Teresa do Oeste
(PR) - Brazil where the transnational seed corporation Syngenta Seeds is
growing experimental seeds. The peasants denounced the illegal activity
of experimenting with transgenic seeds in the area, an activity that has
already been confirmed by the National Institute for the Environment and
for Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), located in the "absorbing" zone
of Iguaçu National Park.

According to Article 11 of Law 10.814/2003 (which establishes rules for
the planting and trade of genetically modified soy in the harvest of
2004), the practice constitutes an environmental crime, because "the
planting of transgenic soy seeds is forbidden in the area of conservation
and in the respective absorbing zones".

On March 8, IBAMA carried out an inspection in the corporation's
experimental field and verified the illegal existence of around 12
hectares of genetically modified soy planted in the area near the park.
The action was informed by an earlier accusation that had been presented
by peasants and by the Terra de Direitos group to the environmental agency.

La Via Campesina denounces the criminal conduct of the Syngenta
corporation and the threat of damages to the area of environmental
preservation. The park where the Iguaçu Falls is located was declared a
Patrimony of Humanity by the UN Agency for Education, Science, and
Culture (UNESCO).

With respect to the serious environmental crime committed by Syngenta, La
Via Campesina and its fraternal groups demand:

The immediate interdiction, embargo and prohibition of Syngenta's
activities in the area. Criminal, civil, and administrative charges
against the corporation and its directors, with the application of all
suitable fines. Criminal, civil, and administrative charges against the
members of the National Technical Commission on Biosecurity that
authorized these experiments in an outlawed area; Rigorous inspection by
IBAMA in all the "absorbing" zones of Iguaçu National Park..

Environmental Crimes

The Syngenta corporation is responsible for the largest case of genetic
contamination in the world. The corporation criminally sold Bt10 corn as
Bt11, without authorization for four years in the United States. The
transgenic corn of Syngenta was not evaluated by the regulating agencies
nor were its effects on human health or on the environment. The seeds
that were sold contaminated the corn exported to various countries.

The Monsanto corporation also was charged by IBAMA in at least two
experimental fields in Brazil; one located in Rolândia, the other in
Ponta Grossa. In these two cases alone, Monsanto paid environmental fines
of $R 2 million.

While the large transnational corporations privatize seeds and destroy
the environment, it is up to the peasants and small farmers to denounce
the crimes and to struggle in defense of biodiversity, especially for the
protection of native seeds. In this struggle, the strategy of the
corporations has been to invert logic and to criminalize the peasants and
small farmers who organize and oppose the powerful economic and political
interests of these corporations. An example of this: about a week ago,
Monsanto asked for preventative jailing of a landless worker, in relation
to the occupation of an experimental area with a series of illegal
experiments in 2003 in Ponta Grossa.

Given this situation, La Via Campesina is publicly denouncing the
criminalization of the social movements to cover up the illegal conduct
of these transnationals that threaten biodiversity and the rights of
future generations with incalculable damages.


 --------------------------
 Igor Felippe Santos
 Setor de Comunicação - SP
 Secretaria Nacional do MST
 Tel/fax: (11) 3361-3866
 Página: www.mst.org.br

 --------------------------
 Isabelle Delforge
 La Via Campesina
 International Operative Secretariat
 Jakarta - Indonesia
 Office: + 62-217991890
 Mobile: +62-81513224565
 Home: +62-217946029
 Website :http://www.viacampesina.org
 Jln. Mampang Prapatan XIV No. 5
 Jakarta Selatan 12790 - Indonesia


                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Brazil peasants occupy Swiss farm
SOURCE: British Broadcasting Corporation, by Tom Gibb
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4811670.stm
DATE:   16 Mar 2006

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Brazil peasants occupy Swiss farm

Several hundred peasant activists have occupied a research farm in
southern Brazil owned by a Swiss multinational biotechnology company.

The Landless Movement says the move is part of a new strategy to target
multinational agribusiness, which it accuses of pushing farmers off land.

It also says such companies are destroying the environment.

The Landless Movement has also occupied dozens of farms and cattle
ranches to press for land reform.


Eucalyptus destruction

At least 300 peasants from the Landless Movement took over the
experimental farm belonging to the Swiss company Syngenta, accusing it of
sowing genetically modified seeds close to a nature reserve.

The company denies breaking environmental rules.

The Landless Movement has long occupied farms to demand land reform from
the government, which is the aim of most of the dozens of farm takeovers
over the last week.

But leaders of the Landless Movement say they will now also target big
agricultural companies in alliance with the international peasant
movement, Via Campesina.

It is the second such protest in less than a week.

Last week about 1,000 women from the movement took over a tree nursery in
southern Brazil, destroying around one million eucalyptus seedlings.

Brazilian government officials - who have been supportive of the Landless
Movement in the past - strongly criticised the destruction.

The country's economic growth is dependent on agricultural exports, many
of them channelled through multinational companies.


                                 PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Syngenta Brazil Denies Illegal Genetic Seed Tests
SOURCE: Reuters, by Andrei Khalip
DATE:   16 Mar 2006

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Syngenta Brazil Denies Illegal Genetic Seed Tests

BRAZIL: March 16, 2006

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Syngenta Seeds on Wednesday denied claims by a
peasant group occupying its farm in southern Brazil that the
biotechnology company's experiments with genetically modified organisms
were illegal.

The unit of Swiss Syngenta AG said in a statement it was talking to
authorities and taking all legal measures to end the invasion. The act
started on Tuesday in Parana state where an international meeting on
biodiversity this week is discussing GMO biosecurity and other issues.

"All Syngenta's product development follows rigid security and quality
norms, government policies and all the applicable regulations," the
company said, citing its licenses from the government commission that
authorizes GMO research in Brazil.

La Via Campesina (Peasant Way), an international group allied with
Brazil's militant Landless Peasants' Movement, said 1,000 activists
invaded Syngenta's Santa Teresa do Oeste farm to "denounce the illegal
activity of experimenting with transgenic seeds in the area."

Peasant Way's Web site said an inspection this month by Brazil's
environmental agency Ibama found GMO seeds planted closer to the Iguacu
National Park than permitted by law.

An Ibama spokesman confirmed that 30 acres (12 hectares) of Syngenta's
transgenic soy plantings were about 4 miles (6 km) from the park, while
the allowed distance is 6 miles (10 km).

"The area was embargoed, which means they cannot harvest there until
further notice. There are fines involved as well," said the spokesman,
saying the biosecurity council license did not exempt Syngenta from
abiding environmental regulations.

Syngenta did not comment on Ibama's claims, but repeated that it followed
all regulations of the National Technical Commission for Biosecurity (CTNBio).

It said the invasion was peaceful, although the activists broke the main
gate on Tuesday. It said all employees had left the farm, except for the
manager and his assistants.

In 2001, protesters taking part in the World Social Forum in Brazil
yanked up more than 5 acres (2 hectares) of genetically modified soybean
crops at an experimental farm owned by US biotech giant Monsanto.

Roberto Baggio, a coordinator for the Landless Peasants' Movement, said
small farmers and peasants wanted the government to intensify biosecurity
checks around the Iguacu park.

"They believe that the only way out is to cut short the experiments
definitively and bar Syngenta from occupying the property (near the
park)," he said.

Anti-GMO activists blame Syngenta for what they call the largest case of
genetic contamination in the world. Syngenta's Bt-10 biotech corn, which
was approved for only animal feeds, was accidentally mixed with US grain
meant for human consumption between 2001 and 2004.

US authorities subsequently concluded that Bt-10 corn is not a danger to
people, animals or plants.

Land invasions are common in Brazil, mainly to demand that the government
speed up the distribution of public land for settlement of poor peasants.

Separately in Brazil, the Landless Peasant Movement has been occupying a
farm belonging to Suzano pulp and paper company in Sao Paulo state and a
few private farms elsewhere.

Last week, activists in southern Rio Grande do Sul state ransacked a tree
nursery of Brazilian pulp and paper company Aracruz, destroying part of a
research lab. Aracruz estimated losses at $400,000 including 1 million
saplings and genetic material that took 15 years to produce.


                                 PART IV
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Syngenta denies illegal GMO tests in Brazil
SOURCE: swissinfo, Switzerland
        http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo.html?
siteSect=111&sid=6557142&cKey=1142618426000&rss=true
DATE:   17 Mar 2006

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


Syngenta denies illegal GMO tests in Brazil

Swiss agrochemicals giant Syngenta has denied claims that its experiments
with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) at a farm in Brazil are illegal.

The test site in the south of the country has been invaded by hundreds of
peasant activists who claim the company has illegally planted transgenic
seeds close to a nature reserve.

The Basel-based company told swissinfo on Friday that around 300 peasant
activists were still occupying the farm in Parana state but had been
given five days to leave by the Brazilian authorities.

Spokesman Guy Wolff strongly refuted the claims made by La Via Campesina,
an international group allied with Brazil's militant Landless Peasants'
Movement.

"We deny this 100 per cent. A company like Syngenta would not start
playing tricks like that, it is just against our policy. We are being
scrutinised very closely," said Wolff.

"In any case we have government authorisation for what we do there. It's
a test site for transgenic soya bean and corn, and we have all the legal
permits to do that."

Via Campesina, which claims around 1,000 small farmers and peasants are
occupying the site, said in a statement that an inspection this month by
Brazil's environmental agency Ibama found GMO seeds planted closer to the
Iguaçu National Park than permitted by law.

Transgenic seeds

An Ibama spokesman confirmed to Reuters that 30 acres of Syngenta's
transgenic soy plantings were about six kilometres from the park, while
the permitted distance is ten kilometres.

Syngenta said it was surprised by the environment agency's statement and
said it was complying with regulations laid down by Brazil's National
Technical Commission for Biosecurity.

"This is hard to believe," commented Wolff. "We are ten kilometers away
from the park and anyway the pollen would certainly not travel further
than ten or 20 yards. We are absolutely within the legal frame."

Roberto Baggio, a coordinator for the Landless Peasants' Movement, told
Reuters that small farmers and peasants wanted the government to
intensify biosecurity checks around the Iguaçu park.

"They believe that the only way out is to cut short the experiments
definitively and bar Syngenta from occupying the property [near the
park]," he said.

Land invasions are common in Brazil, mainly to demand that the government
speed up the distribution of public land for settlement of poor peasants.

Last week about 2,000 Via Campesina members invaded a southern Brazil
plantation owned by paper and pulp company Aracruz Celulose, destroying a
million saplings and damaging a research laboratory.




--
GENET
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
news & information

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fax......... +49-531-5168747
email....... news(*)genet-info.org
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