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El Salvador Rejects Monsanto and Embraces Food Sovereignty

Like the towns of Sedgwick, Penobscot, and Blue Hill, in Maine, the country of El Salvador has now declared “food sovereignty” from the hegemony of international market dictates, particularly those of agricultural giants like Monsanto.

President Mauricio Funes is inaugurating a new plan aimed at reactivating the country’s historically ignored rural economy and reversing El Salvador’s growing dependence on imported grains. The idea behind the sovereignty is that countries hold the right to define their own agricultural policies, rather than being subject to the whims of international market forces. Or to corporate bullying, in other words.

With ongoing support from the U.S.-based NGO EcoViva, La Coordinadora and the Mangrove Association have been working since the mid-1990s to promote diversified, sustainable agriculture for small family farmers in Usulután as a means for reducing hunger and building a strong rural economy.

The biotech industry’s use of their influence in removing regulatory barriers to gain new markets for its products throughout the developing world has been well documented.

In Latin America, El Salvador was the third country to plant GMO seeds, following Colombia and Honduras. Thus, when Funes made the following statement at the opening ceremony, it can be expected that his words did not fall lightly on the ears of Monsanto executives: “Only if we become independent in seed [production], will we become independent in food, that is to say, can we achieve food sovereignty.”

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