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  • "It is perhaps one of the few national laws in the world which guarantees and protects the right of peasants to seeds,” said the statement.

    "It is perhaps one of the few national laws in the world which guarantees and protects the right of peasants to seeds,” said the statement. | Photo: EFE

The law, one of few protecting local ecology-based agriculture, is under threat from right-wing Venezuelan lawmakers.

Around 200 individuals and organizations identified as “ scientists, practitioners and advocates involved in food and agriculture,” signed a statement released Monday against attacks by Venezuela’s right wing on a recent law that bans GMO seeds in the country.

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“The law is significant both for its content and for the process through which it was passed,” read the statement, which argues that the law “marks a historic win for agroecology and food sovereignty movements in Venezuela and beyond. It is perhaps one of the few national laws in the world which guarantees and protects the right of peasants to seeds.”

Farmers in Venezuela, it points out, are typically Indigenous, peasant or Afro-descendant, and most vulnerable to hunger and environmental changes. Not enough research has been conducted to fully back the benefits of GMOS, it states, but the benefits of non-GMO, ecologically-based agriculture—as promoted by the law—is already clear.

“Special protection for locally adapted seeds recognizes the importance of local conservation for maintaining maximum genetic diversity, increasingly important for building resiliency in the face of climate change," the statement reads.

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The right-wing National Assembly in Venezuela has attacked the law, passed in December shortly after parliamentary elections, for being “anti-scientific.” Supporters point to support for the law from the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, drafted by leading experts and endorsed by 59 countries.

The signees include the former U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, anti-GMO groups, organic farmers, professors and food activists from around the Global South, including Tanzania, India and Guatemala.

The signatories say they decided to draw attention to the law “not only for its implications for Venezuela, but for its broader implications in the face of increasing corporate consolidation of the genetic resources critical for present and future food security and food sovereignty.”

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