Citing pandemic, Bolivia plans wider use of GMOs


Critics fear an influx of genetically modified crops in Bolivia will spell the end of native cultivars such as these corn varieties. (Photo courtesy of Center for Small-Scale Farming Research and Promotion, Cipca)

Bolivia’s government has agreed to allow broader commercial cultivation of genetically modified crop varieties, arguing that food production must be increased amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Though neighboring agricultural-export powerhouses Brazil and Argentina have produced a wide variety of transgenic crops for years, Bolivia until now has only formally allowed commercial cultivation of one—Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans, which are genetically modified to tolerate the company’s glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide. A May 7 decree issued by Interim President Jeanine Áñez calls for swift government approval of more transgenic soy varieties as well as gene-altered corn, sugarcane, cotton and wheat—the last of which is not yet approved for commercial cultivation anywhere in the world. The decree by Áñez, a conservative former senator who was declared interim president when predecessor Evo Morales resigned amid accusations of electoral fraud last year, came amid heavy lobbying by agribusiness. It has drawn... [Log in to read more]

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