Between Monsanto and good living: the food future of Latin America | Latin America | DW | 19.11.2012



"Today, we have excess food, we produce so much that each person could consume 4,000 calories a day. We do not have to produce more, but fight poverty and change our eating behavior. Globally, 40 percent of food is not consumed, half of it is discarded, especially among young people, "warned Bernward Geier, an expert on agrarian and environmental policies, during his opening address to the conference" Latin America in the focus "(17.-18.11.2012).

For the ninth consecutive year, this takes place at the University of Cologne, under the production of students of the Latin American studies. According to Bernward Geier, who for 18 years was director of the International Federation of Agricultural Biological Movements (IFOAM), genetic technology is one of the great lies of our times: "despite the pretext of wanting to end hunger, there is no single cultivation that meets the goal of increasing productivity. "

" Latin America, epicenter of genetic technology "

On the one hand, the epicenter of Genetic technology - 60 to 70 percent of the area under cultivation - is found in Latin America, especially in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. On the other hand, the Latin continent is also "the cradle of fair trade," says Geier. Three decades ago, Mexico saw the birth of the first cooperative of peasants and small producers.

Bolivia's cocoa cooperative El Ceibo, which produced the first organic chocolate for the German market, is another example of successful organic production. Today, it has more than 5,000 members and between 20 and 30 percent of its products are destined for domestic consumption, being less vulnerable to the ups and downs of export markets.

Van Gogh-style farming

Australian Parakeets. Melopsitacus Undulatus. Budgerigar Budgie.
MUTILATION: / strong> Currently in captivity the pink and yellow mutation are perfectly established. Scientific name: Neophema bourkii and Neopsephotus bourkii.- Order Psitaciformes, family psittacidae.

The food future is in our hands

Another example of organic farming in Argentina is the nearly 7 to 9 million hectares of extensive cattle ranching, a Latin country in the fifth largest producer of meat worldwide and the first in terms of area of ​​biological cultivation, said Jürgen Pohlan. The agronomist also stressed the country's potential to grow new useful plants in the future, particularly in the face of climate change, as it owns 30 percent of the world's freshwater reserves.

Another focus of the conference focused on water supply in Latin America. Ana Cangahuala, of the Technical University of Darmstadt, stressed the importance of efficient water management. In the Latin American continent, the loss of water is on average 42 percent. By comparison, in Germany, it is 6.8 percent. Therefore, the expert stressed, the challenge is not only to invest in renewable energies to protect the environment, but to avoid extreme loss of water in order to save more energy.

Good living: an export model?

The constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuador declare the right to "good living". Among other aspects, this concept posits a coexistence of respect with nature. As for food sovereignty, the Bolivian government, for example, allows the cultivation of transgenic soybeans, but prohibits the use of genetic technology in local plants. The expert Thomas Fatheuer pointed out another contradiction: social projects related to good living are financed with resources derived from the extraction of natural resources.

However, the expert on good living by the German Heinrich-Böll Foundation, close to the Green Party, said he was surprised by the strong interest of the German public on the subject. An important principle of the concept, which lends itself to international discussions and implementations, is the respect and promotion of diversity: "good living must be thought of as plural."


Publisher: Enrique López Magallón