Fatal Soya - The Mothers of Ituzaingó

Speakers Tour with Sofia Gatica and Maria del Milagro Godoy: 5th - 19th September 2012

Ever since her daughter died from kidney malformation, just three days after she was born, Sofia Gatica has been fighting against the aircraft spraying of Monsanto's Roundup (Glyphosate) on Argentina's soybean fields.

In her district of Ituzaingó in Cordoba, this takes considerable courage. Despite threatening visits from the ‘Pistoleros’ who try to stop them documenting just how many miscarriages, birth defects and cancer cases have occurred in the neighbourhood, Sofia Gatica remains persistent. Along with other concerned mothers, she has proved that the numbers are in fact many times the national average. Resistance is now beginning to stir in other communities. For the first time, two agricultural companies and an aircraft operator have been brought to court for violating security rules. Ultimately what the ‘Mothers of Ituzaingó’ want to see is the introduction of a total ban. Their experiences are consistent with scientific studies carried out in Argentina and in France which confirm that Glyphosate is toxic for embryos.

In Europe, alarming concentrations of Glyphosate can be detected in the urine of citizens. Its use is being increasing associated with problems in animal husbandry. Nonetheless, the safety review of the world's best-selling herbicide that is due in Europe has been postponed by three years, and the maximum allowable quantities of the plant toxin in feed and food have been increased.

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) has also positively evaluated an application by Monsanto to cultivate Roundup-ready GM soya in the EU, stating that the genetic modification of plants presents no additional health or environmental hazards. The impact of the system of herbicides and genetically engineered plants as a whole remains unevaluated.

An opportunity to meet and work with the Mothers of Ituzaingó

Sofia Gatica and Maria del Milagro Godoy will be speaking about their experiences at this year's GMO Free Europe conference, which is taking place on 5th September in Brussels. After all, most of the Roundup-sprayed GM soya which is grown in their country ends up as animal feed in Europe: The production of cheap, industrial meat in European factories depends on the import of millions of tons of GM soya from North and South America.

On 19th September, they will be in Brussels once again for the final day of the "Good Food March" – a European-wide event calling for good local food and small-scale, organic farming in the EU. As the cultivation of leguminous plants in the EU will improve soil fertility, promote biodiversity through crop rotation and reduce the use of fertilizers, it must be promoted in the wake of the EU agricultural reform. This would not only be good for farmers in Europe, but also for the remaining small farmers in Latin America, and their health.

Between these two events, the Foundation on Future Farming and ARC2020 are planning a Speakers Tour with Sofia Gatica and Maria del Milagro Godoy.

For more information or to organize an interview, please contact Volker Gehrmann
Email: v.gehrmann@gmo-free-regions.org Tel: +49 30 24047146

Background Report: Soy cultivation in Argentina: a reference case

Dates

4/9/2012 Brussels: GMO-free Regions Conference, workshop "Argentina: Fatal Soya & The Mothers of Ituzaingó", Mundo-B, 18.15.

5/9/2012 Brussels: GMO-free Regions Conference, panel discussion "How 'roundup ready' is Europe’s agricultural policy?", European Parliament, 15.00.

7/9/2012 Mainz: meeting with Ulrike Höfken, Ministry of Environment, Agriculture, Food, Wine and Forestry Rhineland-Palatinate, 15.00.

Kirchberg/Jagst: film screening 'Raising Resistance' and panel discussion, Kino Klappe, 20.30.

8/9/2012 Backnang, Germany: public discussion, Weltladen, 11.00.

9/9/2012 Kassel, Germany:  The Mothers of Ituzaingó -  In discussion, Kiosk Karlsaue, Documenta Kassel, 11.00.

10/9/2012 Krakow, Poland:

11/9/2012 Krakow, Poland:

13/9/2012 Berlin: public expert talk with MP Harald Ebner, German Parliament, 18.00.

14/9/2012 Bucharest, Romania: Good Food March manifestation

16/9/2012 Córdoba, Spain: Public discussion, Jardines de Orive, 20.00.

17/9/2012 Madrid: Press interviews, Ecologistas en Acci¡on

Zaragoza, Spain:Public discussion, Centro Joaquín Roncal, 19.00

18/9/2012 Barcelona, Spain:

19/9/2012 Brussels: conference "CAP Reform 2020 – An Opportunity for European Democracy", European Parliament, 15.30.

2012 Goldman Environmental Prize for South and Central America: Sofia Gatica