"While surplus food stocks rot in the open, thousands die of starvation and hunger. And as if this is not enough, the government has allowed the sale of foodgrains at a throw-away price to traders and merchants for export when people in the country are waiting endlessly for two square meals a day!" - Devinder Sharma
As GM crops growing countries face growing market rejection of their crops and neighbouring Argentina finds itself under pressure from the US and Monsanto to hold the line, Chile is pursuing a far more economically intelligent direction.
CHILE: Chile considers conversion to organic food production
31 May 2001
Source: just-food.com editorial team
No pesticides, no fertilizers and no genetically modified plants: just healthy, natural produce. This could soon be a reality on farms in Chile's southern Region XI following a recent government proposal to convert the region into the country's first exclusively organic zone.
The plan, drafted by the Agriculture Ministry Regional Office and the National Environmental Commission (Conama), aims to make the area's agricultural, fishing and cattle sectors chemical free within the next few years.
Whereas to date the region's extreme geographical isolation meant residents struggled to transport pesticides and fertilizers to the area, the proposals could convert this barrier into a potential gold mine.
"The opportunities are endless," Region XI Sen. Antonio Horvath said, noting that organic status would enable farmers to take advantage of the current decrease in meat sales by European producers, who have been forced to curb exports as a result of outbreaks of foot and mouth and 'mad cow disease,' known scientifically as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).
By Steve Anderson, just-food.com correspondent