A few days ago, a circular from the Buenos Aires North Regional Center of INTA was published, signed by Agronomist Hérnán J. Trebino, director of this institution. In it, the professionals of this body are ordered to refrain "unrestrictedly" from using, in published documents, the name or logo of political or party groups, as well as the term "agrotoxic", to imply “A negative evaluative position that presupposes an inappropriate or inappropriate use of a technological alternative that, when used properly, should not constitute a risk to human or environmental health.” At the same time, they are required to use terms such as “phytosanitary products” or “ agrochemicals".
These directives cannot be considered mere bureaucratic resolutions of the Institute. For more than 30 years we have seen how INTA has actively participated in the implementation and consolidation of the agribusiness model that has expanded in Argentina based on the use of the biotechnological package, which has genetically modified seeds at its heart, the use of pesticides and other production techniques.
Today, the consequences of this model become inscrutable: the reduction of rural employment, the concentration of land and the disappearance of small-scale agriculture and regional economies, forced migration and reduction of our food quality, elimination of forests, native forests, biological diversity in pursuit of the installation of monoculture and the indiscriminate use of chemical products for the fumigation of our fields and villages (and everything that is in them) with more than 300 million liters of pesticides per year.
There are many studies that show the effects that these toxins have on our health. Research carried out by academics from the University of Río Cuarto, Córdoba, Rosario, Mar del Plata, La Plata, the Faculty of Medicine and Exact of the University of Buenos Aires, and even by researchers from Conicet have been showing in the last 10 years that The exposure to which we have been subjected, directly or indirectly, is today responsible for the increases in skin allergies, respiratory or gastrointestinal problems, reproductive diseases, misnamed spontaneous abortions and congenital malformations, endocrine problems such as hypothyroidism, disorders of neurodevelopmental and cancer rates that soar, tripling the incidences, prevalences and mortality from oncological diseases.
And these products -glyphosate, endosulfan, 2-4D, among others- that in many parts of the world have been banned due to contamination and the social and health damages they generate, are in our blood, urine, in the food we eat, cotton, the water of the rivers, the napas, the air, the rain water, among other products and places.
In recent years, some INTA researchers have begun to relate the consequences that these toxins have on animal and plant populations and other ecosystem factors, such as soil and water. In addition, they have made public the serious consequences that the agribusiness model has generated with the expansion of the agricultural frontier, the absence of crop rotation, the elimination of forests and wetlands for the production and the systematic use of these toxins, such as , the constant floods to which we have been exposed.
The response of this body is to generate these directives that are a political attempt to silence those voices that, from within it, advocate the need to generate independent investigations of the interests of large companies that INTA itself has supported and endorsed. during all these years. Organizations that cannot be named are spaces that, long before these research organizations, have been studying and denouncing the concrete consequences of this model on the health of our populations. The request not to speak of “pesticides” is a necessity to continue denying that the use of these products is a systematic practice that this model requires for the very subsistence of profits and not a mere problem of “bad practices”. The negative assessment to which they refer is a reality that all those of us who live in the countryside and in suburban regions experience and that we are constantly sprayed and sprayed with these products, getting sick on a daily basis.
The agribusiness model has come hand in hand with the privatization of knowledge in these institutions. The opening of INTA's germplasm banks, which meant the appropriation of the biodiversity generated after years of collective work between this institute and agricultural producers, and the consolidation of public-private linkage agreements for the generation of technologies, have made this organism in an instance that biases and censors for years any attempt of investigation close to the interests of the population.
Meanwhile, it continues to develop the necessary knowledge for private companies. Thus, while INTA refuses to name certain organizations, the institute fosters strong alliances with agribusiness networks, such as the BPA Network (which brings together the main agro-business chambers - CASAFE, ACSoja, Bolsa de Cereales, Casem, Cámara Argentina de Biofuels- and promoter organizations -Aapresid, CREA-), and generates joint training sessions, such as the “Weed Day”, organized in April of this year, in Pergamino.
These resolutions, to those of us who know the role that INTA has played for the development of agribusiness, do not surprise us. Nor were they surprising, in 2009, the multiple attempts made by Conicet to silence researchers such as Andrés Carrasco, who made public the works that showed the health effects of these pesticides.
We consider that these resolutions put forward by the INTA Regional Center threaten the free production of knowledge that should be the spirit of a public body. Cutting down theoretical frameworks, proposing what concepts or sources can or cannot be used in an investigation or predefining epistemological perspectives is CENSORSHIP. And this censorship aims to skew the multiple aspects of our social and productive reality and to discipline the workers of these research centers.
For this reason, we stand in solidarity with the workers of research and extension organizations such as INTA and Conicet who have been fighting from below to be able to generate knowledge in favor of the interests of society as a whole, committed to the reality of the working sectors. , who are constantly besieged by their daily research task.
At the same time, we firmly denounce that what these research centers pretend to present as harmless phytosanitary products, ARE AGROTOXIC. Its toxic effects on ecosystems and communities have already been widely demonstrated by researchers around the world. The use of euphemisms only seeks to cover what is now commonplace: the massive use of poisons in agricultural production is generating a silent genocide for which no one wants to be held responsible.
Finally, we repudiate the provisions carried out by the director of the Buenos Aires North Regional Center of INTA and urge that these measures be reversed, in order to guarantee a quality investigation, public and alien to the interests of agribusiness entrepreneurs.
Multisectorial Against Agribusiness "La 41"
Multisectoral against the Monsanto Seed Law in Argentina
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Rio Bravo Territorial Struggle Space
University Front of Luján
All 25 until Monsanto leaves
Action for Biodiversity