Paraguayan Peasants Block Roads to Protest GM Seeds

Asuncion, Sep 25 (Prensa Latina) More than a thousand Paraguayan peasants blocked road traffic today in the Caaguazú department in the first protest of this type in the country after the arrival of a large shipment of seeds of transgenic cotton seeds.

The peasants, grouped in the National Farmers Federation, occupied roads to Coronel Oviedo, capital of Caaguazu, waving posters and canvases rejecting the authorizations made by the government to the marketing and use of such seeds.

The protesters stated that with this first arrival in Paraguay of hundreds of tons of seeds sold by the U.S. multinational Monsanto, they sabotage and try to eliminate the national production, historically developed by peasants and natives.

They also reiterated that the GM seeds affect farmer’s health and the environment by the use of pesticides, also sold by Monsanto.

Marcial Gomez, leader of the Federation, said the roadblocks will be held intermittently for 20 minutes each time and affect the movement of vehicles to and from the bus station in the city.

Gomez said that the National Quality and Plant and Seed Health Service of the Agriculture Ministry initially approved the use of 170,000 kilos of locally produced seeds, but they changed their stance and now those seeds will be lost.

This was due to the government’s approval of the use of transgenic late last month, prompting the immediate rejection of peasant organizations.

Blocking roads will culminate with a march of peasants to Coronel Oviedo to take their protest outside the headquarters of the departmental authorities.

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