Members of Brazil’s Landless Peasant Movement occupied a test farm owned by biotechnology giant Monsanto last week, in a bid to expel the company and establish an organic farm on the site instead. The protestors say neither the people nor the government of the Brazilian state of Parana support genetically modified (GM) crops, such as the transgenic soybeans and corn grown on the Monsanto test site. Brazil allows experimental planting of transgenic crops but has banned commercial planting since 1998. Nonetheless, Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GM soy enjoys a thriving black market, with as much as 30 percent of the nation’s total soy output estimated to be grown from illegal GM seed. Antonio Volochen of the Forum of Rural Workers says that’s a problem for which Monsanto shares the blame: “We have big assets of biodiversity in Parana and Monsanto represents a threat.”
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