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DOW Agrosciences Waging War on Peasants 


GLOBAL ATTEMPTS BY DOW AGROSCIENCES TO GAIN APPROVAL OF NEW GENETICALLY MODIFIED SOYBEAN VARIETIES RESISTANT TO THE HERBICIDE 2,4-D HAVE BECOME PARTICULARLY AGGRESSIVE IN RECENT MONTHS.

SIMULTANEOUS APPLICATIONS HAVE BEEN FILED IN SEVERAL OF THE COUNTRIES WHERE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS (GE or TRANSGENIC CROPS or GMOs) WERE INTRODUCED IN THE 1990s.

By GRAIN
5 June 2014

The push for approval of new transgenics is part of a broader strategy by agribusiness to make the world’s farms increasingly dependent on its toxic herbicides, thus increasing the profits it derives from selling these chemicals. The current situation is a rerun of the 1990s’ introduction of Roundup Ready (glyphosate-resistant) crops, only this time the herbicides in question are much more toxic. These weed-killers have been around for a longer time and the case for their hazardousness to human health and the environment has been well documented.

2,4-D is the standard abbreviation for the chemical 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. A synthetic auxin, or plant hormone, used to kill broad-leaved weeds, it is very commonly applied in combination with other herbicides. It was developed in England during the Second World War and was first marketed in 1946.

The public pretext for these new GE crops is that they are necessary to counter the rapid spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds, popularly known as “superweeds.” But superweeds only exist because they have adapted to survive repeated sprayings of Roundup! In other words, they are a serious problem caused by a technology that was designed as a solution to a lesser problem (offering farmers a convenient way to kill weeds without killing the crop). Only 18 years after their introduction, Roundup Ready seeds are an utter failure.

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational corporation founded in 1897. Initially a chemical manufacturer, in 1989 Dow embarked on an agrichemical joint venture with Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical giant. Eight years later, the resulting company was bought by Dow and renamed Dow AgroSciences. It markets 2,4-D as a single herbicide under the Frontline trademark, as well as in herbicide mixtures under a wide variety of other brand names.

Applications are now before the regulatory agencies of the United States, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa for approval of a new genetically engineered soybean resistant to 2,4-D. The four countries are moving in parallel towards the granting of commercial growing permits. This dynamic shows how these corporations operate on a global scale with the confidence that they can have their way with our public institutions – which have been colonised, they know full well, by corporate power and ideology.

The four soy events (new genetic varieties) being promoted by Dow contain stacked resistance to other herbicides (glufosinate ammonium and glyphosate) in addition to 2,4-D.1

The good news is that peoples’ movements and peasants’ organisations have stepped up their resistance, actively mobilising and raising their voices in public forums to fend off this new attack.

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