|Lazos Chavero, Elena Biotechnology and biodiversity
in the context of Indigenous Movements
Di 1416 Proseminar
The goal of this seminar is to introduce the debate between advocates of indigenous farmers rights in their local varieties and the dominant world system, which vests intellectual property rights to crop genetic resources for industrial agriculture. Within this discussion, we will ex-amine the arguments of the introduction of agrobiotechnology in less developed countries.
The agro-gene-technology has developed in a very short time period, providing crop products for the human and animal consumption, and for the industrial processing of food and phar-maceutical products. It is an industry that has developed, been financed and is firmly based in developed countries (especially North America). Whereas public funding for agricultural re-search has stagnated or declined, the biotechnology industry has continued to invest heavily in agricultural research due to the large advances made in the area and the strengthening of intel-lectual property rights for biological materials. It is probably fair to say that the most signifi-cant breakthroughs in recent years in the area of crop biotechnologies have stemmed from research into the genetic mechanisms behind economically important traits.
Our first goal is to discuss the possible benefits of AGT, the environmental risks in the culture of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for biodiversity and local varieties of crops, the health risks in the consumption of GMO foods.
Our second goal is to counterpart the different positions taken in favor or against AGT. The discourses on AGT are circulating around two main poles. One of the fiercest debates is whe-ther GMOs can be of value for food security and hunger in developing countries. On the op-po-site side, the economical risks of a monopoly are highly considered as the hidden agenda of this promising industry. How do the different stakeholders state their position and which is the de-parting point of everyone of them?
Our third goal is to discuss the role played by the scientists, natural and social scientist in the development of AGT. Science and technology is the paradigm of many national governments in the developing countries in order to solve national problems: poverty and food insecurity.