Members of the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion protested this Friday at the Buenos Aires headquarters of the agribusiness multinational Monsanto against the use of agrochemicals on crops in Argentina, one of the world’s leading food producers.
Wearing white overalls stained with blood-red paint, a dozen protesters broke into the entrance of the multinational building, in the Retiro neighborhood, and sang slogans against the use of agrochemicals.
“We are here to make an explicit complaint against the advancement of the agribusiness model in our country, which is an open-air laboratory for new transgenics,” Flavia Broffoni, 39, a member of Extinction Rebellion Argentina, told AFP.
The demonstrators painted handprints with red paint on the front of the company building, where they displayed signs with legends such as “Another model is urgent”, “Childhood free of agrochemicals” or “Poison cannot be grown”.
“We are a week away from the world march ‘Out with Monsanto,'” the environmentalist recalled regarding the global call launched by Extinction Rebellion.
Argentina incorporated transgenic seed technology in the mid-1990s, especially in soybeans, which allowed a boom in the production of the oilseed to make the country the world leader in exports of flour and oil from this crop.
Since then, “no seed has been cultivated without being directly associated with a package of agrochemicals or phytosanitary products,” said Broffoni.
“Companies like Monsanto are developing these transgenic technologies to increase productivity fundamentally of export commodities, but these commodities do not represent food for our country because more than 83% of Argentina’s agro-industrial exports are to produce balanced animal feed,” he said.
The environmentalists demanded that the government “urgently initiate a model of agroecological transition free of these poisons.”
Argentina is one of the largest global agricultural producers and soybeans are its main crop with 16 million of the total 39 million hectares dedicated to agriculture.
In the last 40 years, soybean production multiplied about 40 times, reaching a production record of 61 million tons in the 2014-2015 campaign.
It is estimated that in 2022, agro-industrial exports will reach a record 41,000 million dollars, some 3,000 million more than in 2021, especially due to the rise in international prices due to the food shortage derived from the war in Ukraine.