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Soy Cultivation - Caaguazu and San Pedro, Paraguay


Description:

In the 1970s some farmers from the South of Brazil moved their traditional soy cultivation to Paraguay. By 1999-2000, the cultivation of transgenic soy had spread quickly in Paraguay, and the country became the worlds third largest exporter, and fourth largest producer, of soy.

From the end of the 1990s, affected farming communities, forced to leave because of the installation of massive plantations, asserted their land rights and denounced the serious environmental damages and health problems caused by herbicides used for the GMO crop production. They also denounced the destruction of subsistence crops caused by the expansion of soy monoculture.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Soy Cultivation - Caaguazu and San Pedro, Paraguay
Country:Paraguay
State or province:Caaguazu and San Pedro
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local 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)
Land acquisition conflicts
GMOs
Specific commodities:
Land
Soybeans

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

In 1995 there were 800,000 hectares of soya grown in Paraguay. Eight years later, in 2003, soybean farming increased to 2 million hectares, while production rose from 2.3 million to 4.5 million tons. The Paraguayan Government plans to assign another 2 million hectares of land to genetically modified soy monoculture. In Paraguay the majority of productive land is in the hands of a few big landowners, who represent just 2 percent of the population but own 80 percent of the land. The use of herbicides causes serious soil and water pollution, threatening food sovereignty and local community health provoking skin and breathing diseases.

Project area:2000000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:150000
Start of the conflict:2000
Company names or state enterprises:Cargill from United States of America
Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) from United States of America
Bunge from United States of America
Relevant government actors:Government of Paraguay, INDERT - Paraguay, the National Comission of Human Rights of Paraguay, Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:MAP - Paraguay, MST - Brazil, Committee of Indigenous Farm Women of Paraguay (CONAMURI), National Farmers Federation (FNC), Sobrevivencia Amigos de la Tierra Paraguay

Conflict and 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
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Genetic contamination, Global warming, Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Specific impacts on women

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Deaths
Migration/displacement
Repression
Development of alternatives:Land redistribution and agrarian reform. Crops' diversification.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Although a small part of the displaced people have been given a piece of land, the majority of the population has no land to live. Moreover, all the affected families by the toxic herbicides (some of them dead) have not received compensation. Since 1996, more than 1.2 million hectares of forest have been cut down to grow soy rather than food and other crops. Over the last 20 years 100,000 small-scale local farmers have migrated to city slums or to other countries or have become landless. Each year in Paraguay 9,000 rural families are evicted by soy production and nearly half a million hectares of land are turned into soy fields.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Resolution 153 by the Ministry of Agriculture authorizing GM soy seed : BtRR2Y

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

La lucha campesina 1990-2004. Pilz, Dania; Quintin, Riquelme; Rodriguez, Mirtha; Villalba, Roberto. Centro de Documentacion y estudios. 2004
http://fr.calameo.com/books/002701642f3f620090a75

Movimientos campesinos en el Paraguay. Fogel, Ramon. Centro Paraguayo de estudios sociologicos. 1986
http://www.jstor.org/stable/2502921?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

‘Responsible Soy’ in Paraguay: Grupo DAP and the advancement of soy monocutures in San Pedro, CEO Report, 2009
http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/sites/default/files/files/resource/dap_articlefinal.pdf

Informe de la gira de verificación sobre los impactos de la soja transgénica en Paraguay , GRAIN, 19/02/2014
https://www.grain.org/es/article/entries/4890-informe-de-la-gira-de-verificacion-sobre-los-impactos-de-la-soja-transgenica-en-paraguay

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Cultivo extensivo de Soja:terribles consecuencias., 27/11/2009
http://asiestamipaisparaguay.blogspot.it/2009/11/cultivo-extensivo-de-sojaterribles.html

Avance del monocultivo de soja transgenica en el Paraguay, T., Palau
http://www.glifocidio.org/docs/soya/sp4.pdf

Paraguay’s Destructive Soy Boom, j., Hobbs, 02/07/2012, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/opinion/paraguays-destructive-soy-boom.html

Massacre in the department of Caaguazu – Paraguay, ASEED Europe, 20/07/2005
http://aseed.net/en/massacre-in-the-department-of-caaguazu-paraguay-2/

Paraguay: soja transgénica y la violación de los derechos humanos, 14/08/2014
http://www.biodiversidadla.org/Portada_Principal/Recomendamos/Paraguay_soja_transgenica_y_la_violacion_de_los_derechos_humanos

Massacre in the department of Caaguazu – Paraguay, ASEED Europe, 20/07/2005
http://aseed.net/en/massacre-in-the-department-of-caaguazu-paraguay-2/

Other documents

Soy monoculture field, San Pedro Corporate Europe Observatory
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/soy_san_pedro_ceo.jpg

Meta information

Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update04/01/2016

Images

 

Soy monoculture field, San Pedro

Corporate Europe Observatory