Venezuela opposition representatives who won a majority of seats in Congress last December are looking to repeal the Seed Law, sometimes referred to as the "anti-Monsanto" bill, which prohibits transgenic seeds from being imported to Venezuela or produced in the country.
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“The new majority in the National Assembly serves the interests of transnationals and the big monopolies of the agri-business sector, this is why they have expressed their intention to repeal the bill,” Eisamar Ochoa, a spokesperson for Venezuela Free of Transgenics, told RT.
The Seed Law's legislative text mandates the state promotion of sustainable agriculture as the constitutional foundation of food security and rural development, and according to Ochoa it was first brought to the Venezuelan Congress amid intense popular debate and support from social movements.
“If the Seed Bill is repealed, (lawmakers) would be handing out the seeds, which represent a strategic good for food sovereignty, to the agribusiness sector like Monsanto," she said.
Back in May of this year, around 200 individuals and organizations identified as “scientists, practitioners and advocates involved in food and agriculture” signed a statement against attacks by Venezuela’s right wing on a recent law that bans GMO seeds in the country.
“The law is significant both for its content and for the process through which it was passed,” read the statement, arguing the “marks a historic win for agroecology and food sovereignty movements in Venezuela and beyond."
Farmers in Venezuela, they pointed out, are typically Indigenous, peasant or Afro-descendant, and most vulnerable to hunger and environmental changes.
The right-wing National Assembly in Venezuela has attacked the law, passed in December shortly after parliamentary elections, for being “anti-scientific.” Supporters point to support for the law from the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, drafted by leading experts and endorsed by 59 countries.
The signees include the former U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, anti-GMO groups, organic farmers, professors and food activists from around the Global South, including Tanzania, India and Guatemala.