agroforst 1199

Naturland

Argentinien 350x233In recent years, the soya boom with its gigantic monoculture farms and the cultivation of GMO plants has turned Argentina into one of the world’s major exporters of agricultural produce. However, this goes hand in hand with the massive deployment of pesticides such as glyphosate.

On Thursday, 4th October, Naturland welcomed Juan Ignacio Pereyra, a lawyer, and Damián Verzeñassi, a doctor, both from Argentina, to their offices, along with Christiane Lüst, an environmental activist from Munich and representative of “Aktion Gen-Klage”.

The Argentinian activists reported on the devastating effects which glyphosate and sowing GMO soya are having on the native population and the environment in their homeland. Pereyra has already represented many victims of glyphosate in court, and the long-term studies performed by Dr Verzeñassi show a massive increase in cancers, miscarriages, babies born with deformities, and other health issues in the local population. Both the Argentinians, who are well-known from appearances in various television documentaries and who testified before the Monsanto tribunals in 2016 and 2017 in Den Haag citing incidences in Argentina, reported on their experiences in their fight against Monsanto/Bayer.

It was on this matter of human rights abuses that both of them testified before the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on 24th September. The government of Argentina must be held accountable to the UN for the human rights abuses on its territory. For that matter, Germany must provide its own justification, too. The reason for this is that respect for human rights in producer countries is a principle which applies in equal measure to the activities of German companies abroad.
Prior to and following the hearing, these two activists toured Germany and Austria giving lectures and participating in discussions. Pereyra and Verzeñassi are particularly keen to alert the Europeans who import soybeans for fodder to the fact that their production is making the rural population of Argentina ill.

They both report that interest in organic agriculture is growing in Argentina because the farmers there are seeking an alternative to industrial production. To facilitate this, they are looking for supporters prepared to foster the organic and regional production of healthy foodstuffs in Argentina. Naturland promised its support to these two activists and will put them in touch with contacts already established in Argentina. They were happy to accept an invitation to attend a congress on the development of organic agriculture in Argentina which is scheduled for 2019.