Slow Food supports a GMO-free Peru, and has joined more than 30 organizations across Peru the campaign “Biodiversity is our Identity” (La Biodiversidad es Nuestra Identidad), with the aim of informing Peruvians about the negative impact of GMOs on native biodiversity, gastronomy, and culture that are vital to their national identity.
Under the slogan “United for a GMO-free Peru” (Unidos por un Perú libre de transgénicos), the campaign aims to gather more than 20 thousand signatures through the Change.org platform in support of the request for the renewal of the moratorium law on the entry of GM crops (genetically-modified) to Peru (Law N°29811), which is in effect until 2021.
“We are a country blessed by our peoples, our culture, our peasant families and seeds. In a crisis situation like the one Peru is experiencing, the urgency grows to maintain legislation that protects our natural resources and the work of millions of family farmers,” said Clímaco Cárdenas, president of the National Convention of Peruvian Agro, CONVEAGRO.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the population’s concern to protect their health and that of their families has been evidenced through the consumption of natural products and healthy foods that reduce the risk of contracting diseases and, in turn, support to the local economy.
“Our biodiversity is the best way to have a varied, healthy diet, free of GMOs and therefore with a rich nutritional composition that strengthens our immune system to face any infection, such as the pandemic that we are suffering,” said Flora Luna, doctor pediatrician, and researcher.
The campaign will share the voices of peasants and peasants, indigenous populations, and guardians of agrobiodiversity, as well as recognized personalities of our traditional cuisine, academia, science, and politics.
“Our agriculture is the result of a thousands of years of diversified heritage, which has conserved our agrobiodiversity and which is now the basis for building the development of sustainable family agriculture to guarantee the security and food sovereignty of our peoples,” stressed Luis Gomero, president of the Consorcio Agroecológico Peruano, CAP.
“It does not make sense to put at risk our entire biogenetic heritage, the millennial agriculture model, which is fundamentally familiar and very diverse, to move on to a completely different model, which starts from the business ownership of seeds, monoculture, intensive use of herbicides and the concentration of land by a few companies, ”said Jaime Delgado, former congressman, author of the Law of Moratorium on Transgenics that expires in 2021.
Benefits of a GMO-Free Peru
Peru has proven to be a leader against transgenic agricultural products, and it is important to support these initiatives and spread them in other countries in order to jointly combat the manipulation of large companies and the environmental and socio-cultural degradation. These are just some of the benefits Peru has had in these years without transgenic products:
- In the past ten years, the moratorium law has protected Peru and has enabled agrobiodiversity to be used responsibly for economic and cultural development.
- The moratorium on GMOs contributes to protecting family agriculture, which represents 97% of the total agricultural units in the country, generally smaller than 5 hectares. Peru’s food supply is in the hands of the 2.2 million small-scale farmer families who provide approximately 75% of our food. Furthermore, the United Nations declared the Decade of Family Farming from 2019 to 2028.
- The indigenous peoples of Peru have cultivated the agrobiodiversity that exists throughout the territory thanks to ancestral practices and knowledge, including the selection, conservation and free exchange of seeds, and the management and conservation of genetic resources for future generations.
- Currently, there are 55 indigenous and native peoples in Peru who have rights related to the distribution of benefits derived from the use of native diversity and Protection of the collective knowledge of peoples indigenous people linked to biological resources.
- Biosecurity issues related to productive sectors (agriculture, livestock, and fishery) could affect collective rights to 1) food security and food sovereignty, 2) autonomy, 3) access to viable seeds as renewable resources of our biodiversity, 4) free exchange of seeds, 5) loss of opportunities for bio trade development due to patents based on resources of our biodiversity (biopiracy), 6) health, 7) problems of access to the distribution of benefits derived from the use of native diversity.
- Peru’s culture, gastronomy, and nature are the main attractions that fuel tourism in the country. In 2018 Peru received 4.4 million international tourists, generating income worth US $ 4.895 million.
- Exports of native biodiversity products (including 43 different species) have grown steadily (+ 40% from 2013 to 2019), reaching a value of US $ 485 million in 2018, which represents 4% of total non-traditional exports.
- In the midst of the COVID 19 crisis, exports of organic products increased by 13% according to Promperú. In 2020, sales of around 225 million dollars are expected to be reached, while in 2000 they were only 25 million dollars, which shows the growth of the sector despite the global financial crisis.
- In 2019, Peru exported agricultural products for 7 billion dollars without GMOs, 5 times more than Bolivia, which is a country with similar arable surface but which is now dominated by GM soybean fields. Peru generates 2,036 US dollars of value in agricultural exports for every hectare while Bolivia only generates 322 dollars per hectare.