Genetically Modified Soy

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Genetically Modified Soy in Paraguay Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs were introduced into the agricultural market in the 1990’s. Since then, GMO crops have been planted on 174 million hectares of land or, almost half a billion acres of land globally (Fig. 1). GMOs are created through the alteration of genes in a living organism to produce a new genotype. Most food modifications have been primarily focused on cash crops in high demand from farmers such as soybean, corn, canola, and cottonseed oil (GMO Compass – Fig. 2). These cash crops have been engineered for resistance to both pathogens and herbicides, and for better nutrient profiles. Yet, these so-called ‘miracle crops’, which have been said to improve yield for farmers, reduce…show more content…
Robert T. Fraley claims that the “Benefit to the small farmer is disproportionately greater than that to the larger farmer, because they don’t have as many alternatives to begin with. If you give a small farmer a better seed, they’ll grow a better crop” (HBO). With eighty percent of farmable land owned by less than two percent of farmers in Paraguay and with the cost of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GM soybean seeds costing $50 per bag and the Roundup herbicide costing $50 per gallon, the mere cost of these products makes it impossible for small farmers to turn a profit on the amount of land they own (FAO). Unlike many other Latin American countries, most Paraguayans live in rural areas and are farmers by trade. But that is changing: Since the first soy boom in 1990, almost 100,000 small-scale farmers have been forced to migrate to urban slums; about 9,000 rural families are evicted by soy production each year. Rural employment plummeted so dramatically that between 2003 and 2005 day wages for agricultural labor dropped from 15,000 to 8,000 Guaranies (from about $2.50 to $1.30) (Abramson,…show more content…
“I have gastritis and chronic migraines,” says Elvio Meza, 35, holding up an X-ray of his stomach in his home. Dionisio Gómez moved to Asunción in 1998 because the water in Campo Agua’e, his village, was contaminated. “They would fumigate the soy and the chemicals infiltrated our land,” says Gómez, who now lives in a slum. Two of Gómez’s children were stillborn with defects. Doctors never gave a cause, but academic studies — including a 2008 paper on Paraguay published by the American Academy of Pediatrics — say herbicides, specifically Glyphosate, cause birth malformations. (Gilbert) However, Monsanto says Glyphosate is safe and that “it is one of the most thoroughly tested herbicides in the world.” They also say that it is not a carcinogen, and despite the fact that International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that Glyphosate belongs in a 2A category as probably carcinogenic to humans, it does not establish a link between Glyphosate and an increase risk of getting cancer (Monsanto- Fig. 6). Yet, the IARC does clearly state that Glyphosate is ‘probably’ carcinogenic to

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