Brazilian AG Minister Speaks Out in Favour of GMOs

20 December 2002

The new Brazilian Agriculture Minister Roberto Rodrigues, who heads the Brazilian Association of Agribusiness, spoke out in favour of legalising genetically modified (GM) crops. "We need to give Brazilian farmers the chance to use GM crops, as long as there is absolute control, labelling and scientific assurances that there is no impact on public health and the environment," he said in an interview on Monday. His statement contrasts with the opposition of many members in Brazil’s ruling party to GM crops. Rodrigues acknowledged, however, that this was a controversial issue and that reforms would only be adopted gradually and with scientific foundation. He also stated that Brazil would need to import corn next year from transgenic growers, such as the US and Argentina, to feed its livestock, stressing that any such import would only occur under "strict scientific controls". Brazil is the only major agricultural exporting country that does not use GM technology (see BRIDGE Trade BioRes, 21 February 2002). Government approval on the commercial release of GMOs has been put on hold following a number of injunctions issued by Brazil’s Federal Court. Illegal planting of GM crops, however, is thought to be widespread, in particular in the South of the country.

"Brazil’s farms chief backs GM crops," REUTERS, 16 December 2002.

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