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.
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.
[Your Name Here]