Boycott Soybean Production in Argentina

Target: Mr. Jose Manuel Silva Rodriguez, the Director General of the Commission on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Union

Goal: Ask countries of the European Union to boycott Argentinean soy that is mass produced, degrading the environment and displacing local farmers.

Soy production in Argentina is a major problem on many levels. As the Organic Consumer’s Association states, “ the soy republic model has led to economic dependency on transnational investments, food sovereignty risks, displacement of rural populations, degradation of soil and water systems, severe health threats from the use of pesticides and herbicides and a long list of social problems such as increased inequality and unemployment.”

Environmentally, Argentina’s forests have been victimized by the growth and production of the soybean. The Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that between the years of 1980 and 2000 over 16,000,000 hectares of forest were lost to soybean production. Overall, Argentina uses about half of its available land for soy production and about 47 million tons of soy were produced on these lands in 2008. This goes without mentioning that 95% of the soy produced in Argentina is genetically modified (GMO).

Soy production has also proven to be detrimental to traditional farmers in Argentina. In one region, Chaco, over 50% of the population has been displaced, mostly farmers, because their land is now being used for soy production. The official agricultural census reports that 103,405 farmers lost their farms between the years 1988 and 2000. Because soy production is largely run by mechanical labor, jobs have also become scarce for many farmers.

Further, the pesticides and chemicals used to grow GMO soy are extremely damaging to the heath of Argentina’s population. One such chemical, glyphosate has been linked to the development of cancer and birth defects. Thus, it is rather disturbing that 40 million gallons of the chemical are sprayed throughout a given year in Argentina.

The manufacture of soy in Argentina is unsafe, unhealthy and destructive to both Argentina’s environment and its population. Soy production must be cut back, and the methods by which soy is grown must be altered to be more eco-friendly and cooperative. The only way that this can be done is if the countries of the European Union, some of the largest consumers of Argentinean soy, stop buying soy from Argentina.


PETITION LETTER

Dear Mr. Jose Manuel Silva Rodriguez, the Director General of the Commission on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Union,

With genetically modified soy being produced at such a rapid rate in Argentina, the negative effects of such production have perhaps been overlooked. Not only have over 16,000,000 hectares of Argentinean forests been sacrificed for the production of soy, but many indigenous farmers have lost their homes and their jobs because of the increase in soy manufacturing. Further, given that soy production is run by a highly mechanized system, jobs have become scarce for many Argentine people.

On top of all of this, genetically modified soy is not being grown in a safe manner. The use of chemicals such as glyphosate, which has been linked to cancer and birth defects, is highly unregulated.

Argentina’s agricultural livelihood and that of its people has diminished with the increase in soy production, and it is time that this trend is reversed. I urge you to stop supporting the Argentinean soy trade. Given that the countries of European Union comprise large markets for export, you can make a large impact by ceasing to buy soy from Argentina. You must support local farmers and encourage eco-friendly farming.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. Ron Frost says:

    I must disagree with some of your points. For example the number of farmers that have “lost their farms” is largely because of the evolution of agricultural equipment over that span in time. If one combine today can harvest 150 – 200 acres per day compared to the average combine in the 1980’s only capable of covering 30 – 50 acres it’s a natural evolution towards each farmer operating larger tracts of land. Nothing to do with soybeans or any other crop, just a natural progression towards more efficient farming in Argentina and every other major agricultural region of the world. Every major grain/oilseed exporting country in the world has reduced the number of farmers necessary to work the land by a significant percentage over the past 30 years.

    To be fair your environmental cause should also disclose that you and all that sign your petition are in favor of basic food costing 3 to 5 “times” as much because that’s the reality we’d be facing without many aspects of modern agriculture. I’ll admit widespread pesticide use is not all good and we need to work at making the food supply safer, but if you wish to stand up and petition for a vastly different way of producing food, you need to own the negatives as well as the positives of your cause. Without pesticides & (GMO) technology for example crop yields today would not have increased 50 – 100% in just the past few decades. Absent of this change gas prices would be at least $1/Gal higher without ethanol, but more importantly without the yield advancements achieved through pesticide use and (GMO) technology food prices would be astronomical. If food prices globally are 300% – 1000% higher does that mean you stand for promoting mass global starvation or at least far wider spread malnutrition as a consequence of your environmental cause? Just asking because that would be a reality of a world absent of the benefits of modern agricultural advancements, good and bad included.

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