Response to next 'Responsible' soy meeting in Argentina: where monocultures exist there can be no sustainability!

Argentinian organisation GRR (Grupo de Reflexion Rural) responds to the responsible soy proposal and to the round tables held by agri-business and their collaborators.
This in reference to the next Round Table on 'responsible' soy held on the 23rd and 24th of April, 2008 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The conference's theme is "responsible soy: food, feed and fuel for a future world *

We, of the GRR, are in no doubt that proposals to produce supposedly sustainable or responsible Soya are merely an excuse to bring the Agri-business model to the small producer. They are merely a crude attempt to use certification as a smokescreen to disguise the policies of large corporations who keep up appearances through meaningless debate in an attempt to continue to cover up their global trade. The aim of these businesses is to gain access to our natural resources, and to assign us to the role of producers of commodities for export. Through its complicity with some NGOs and producer organisations, the Agribusiness model imposed in the 1990s has now taken on an appearance of responsibility. There is a great deal for them to play for, and they spare no expense or effort in persuading, buying, confusing, or even taking over our debates. In these times of Global Capitalism, Agribusiness can use us, and even consume us, without exposing itself to any great risk. If they propose a small-scale version of the same Agro-business model for us, does it matter if the small producers complain? Can their proposals for Agrarian Reform make a difference when they know that by continuing with current production methods all that can take place is that participation in the new models of colonial dependence will increase?

The Round Tables provide a space for surrender. Without external consultation, scenarios that go beyond the scope of local development are played out at these events through spurious negotiations between the less important members of the corporations and their collaborators. Inevitably, these round tables we will legitimise the models that we currently refute, and attempt to make us lose all hope of achieving our proposals for social justice and food sovereignty. If they need us to take part in those ‘responsible’ round table meetings it is because they are closing global deals through progressive political leadership, because they are advancing in a time when science is becoming subjugated to the interests of business and policies for the production of biofuels, and our territories are being appropriated by investment funds. Soya round tables attempt to secure captive bioenergy markets for their participants. These markets will further increase the price of land, and inevitably, the price of food. Agribusiness and its corporations need to neutralise any dissident voices or proposals, they need to suffocate any autonomous or free-thinking reasoning. This may be due to an intrinsic fragility of the agribusiness model in the midst of the climatic changes the energy crisis we are currently experiencing.

This global model does not support those who do not participate in its production and consumption network. It does not support those that exist at the margins of its food and agriculture industry, and is even less supportive of those who refuse to legitimise them in any way and continue to campaign against their policies. We are proud to be part of those men and women who will not give in to the Agro-industry and this new global subservience. We faced them during the Counter-conference at Iguazú in March 2005, at which so-called environmentalists, the agribusinesses and the grain producers united to share out the plunder from the Soya Republics between themselves. We will challenge them again as many times as is necessary to reclaim a sovereign Argentina, one which is free from corporations and global markets. Our statement at Iguazú is still relevant today:

WHERE MONOCULTURES EXIST THERE CAN BE NO SUSTAINABILITY. WHERE AGRIBUSINESS EXISTS THERE CAN BE NO CAMPESINOS.

GRR Grupo de Reflexión Rural, Argentina
February 2008 www.grr.org.ar

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