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Monsanto and soy monocultures, Argentina


In 1996 a particular variety of transgenic soy was introduced in Argentina. Marketed as Round Up Ready soy (RR), it was genetically modified to resist Round Up, a potent glyphosate-based herbicide. The North American multinational company Monsanto, a specialist in agricultural biotechnology and seeds and the worldwide leader in GM food production, produce both the RR soy and herbicide.

Originally produced in the region of Pampa Humeda, covering the provinces of Santa, Fe, La Pampa, Buenos Aires and Cordoba, the soya monocultures expanded to the Northwest regions (Salta, Tucumán, Jujuy) and to the North East (Chaco, Formosa), reinforcing the poverty and social injustices deep-rooted in the North of Argentina.

Monsanto’s production of RR soy, which today covers over 17 million hectares of land in Argentina, has caused several environmental and social problems such as the reduction of food production for domestic markets, the displacement of peasants from the countryside, massive use of highly poisonous agrotoxins spread by aerial spraying (polluting water supplies and surrounding lands) and widespread deforestation, which goes hand in hand with the expulsion of indigenous communities from their ancestral lands.

The consequences on the health of the populations surrounding the fumigated fields are striking. Collectives have been set up by mothers whose children’s health has been severely affected and life seriously compromised (Madres de Ituzaingó) but also by communities such as the people from the town Malvinas Argentinas who for two years have been opposing and holding back the construction planning of a Monsanto seeds’ factory. At stake is the whole structure of Argentinean economy, which has been based for decades on primary goods’ exportation.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Monsanto and soy monocultures, Argentina
State or province:Cordoba, Santa, Fe, La Pampa, santiago del Estero, and other provinces
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Specific commodities:Land

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Children out of 30 resulted with high rates of agrotoxins in their blood after blood tests were done.

Between 2002 and 2006, 414 934 hectares were deforested double the rate of the period 1998-2002.

Out of 5000 residents have cancer in the region presumably due to the cunsumption of glyphosate.

In 2015, soja fields extend over 20 million hectares.

Project area:17000000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Company names or state enterprises:Monsanto Corporation (Monsanto Co) from United States of America
Nidera Semillas S.A. from Argentina
Relevant government actors:SENASA, CONABIA, CONICET, FAA
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Santa Fe Court of Appeal- Argentina, La Asamblea Malvinas Lucha por la Vida, Union de Trabajadores Agrcolas Representacion Estatal - Argentina, FOCO - Argentina, AA of AA - Argentina, Grupo de Madres Ituzaing Anexo - Argentina, GRR - Argentina, CEPRONAT - Argentina, RENACE - Argentina, Cordoba Coordination for the Defence of Water and Life - Argentina, UAC - Argentina, Argetine Association of Environmental Attorneys - Argentina, Cordoba Coordinadora en Defensa del Agua y de la Vida - Argentina, The Cordoba Court of Justice, Supreme Court of Justice - Argentina

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Arguments for the rights of mother nature


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Global warming, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Deaths
Other Health impactsCancer
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:Erradication of soy monocultures, crop rotations, giving up on the use of herbicide and glyphosate.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Althought there is a stron movement to stop aerial spraying og glyphosate, and many critiques against deforestation in Chaco and their territories, there has been no compensation or punishment of the corporation responsible for the environmental and health harms.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Provintial Law 7543

National Forest Act

Tax Law for Exportations

Biological Diversity Convention

Deforestation Convention

National Law 26.331

Law of Minimum Presumption for the Protection of Native Forests

Text of Santa Fe Court of Appeal Sentence

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Haceme la tesis. Los convenios secretos de la universidad pblica con las multinacionales ms cuestionadas. Como obligan a sintonizar lo acadmico con sus intereses, MU, n. 22, marzo 2009

Documentary Hambre de Soja di Marcelo Vinas

Los de la tierra. De las ligas agrarias a los movimientos campesinos, Pancho Ferrara, Ediciones Tinta Limn, Buenos Aires, 2007

Documentary La Jugada del Peon, 2015

Argentina paese dei paradossi, Mara Seoane, Editori Laterza, Bari, 2004

La Organización de los Pueblos Indigenas en Argentina. El caso de la ONPIA, Andrs Cuyul Guillermo Davinson Pacheco, Buenos Aires, 2007

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites


BANDERILLEROS: Los niegan, los ocultan, pero hablan, medio&medio

Campagna Paren de Fumigar

Questions are being raised about whether overplanting soybeans and linked deforestation is causing the increasingly damaging floods, March 2015

Manifesto on the future of seeds, International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture (many languages available).

Argentina: A Case Study on the Impact of Genetically Engineered Soya, EcoNexus, 2005

Argentina: The Country that Monsanto Poisoned? Photo Essay, Over Grow the system, 29/12/2014

Grr Campaña, entrevista con el Dr. Rodolfo Paramo

EcosCordoba website (Spanish)

Malvinas Argentinas, la comunidad que logró frenar a Monsanto, el gigante de los transgénicos, V., Smink, December 12th 2014, BBC Mundo

Malvinas Argentinas : ” Hasta las últimas consecuencias”, B., Camprubí, 25/07/2015

Glifosato condenados en el aire, medio&medio

Grupo de Reflexion Rural

Pueblos Fumigados Informe sobre la problematica del uso de plaguicidas en las principales provincias sojeras de la Argentina

Other documents

Blockade of Monsanto seeds' factory at Malvinas Argentinas, Cordoba Province, July 2013

Demostration in Cordoba city, on September 17th 2012

Meta information

Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update18/01/2016



Blockade of Monsanto seeds' factory at Malvinas Argentinas, Cordoba Province, July 2013

Demostration in Cordoba city, on September 17th 2012