[08-04-09] Agribusiness Turns Brazil into the Largest Consumer of Poisons in the World

From information published by the National Association of Plant Protection (ANDEF) - an employers' organization that brings together companies in the agribusiness like Basf, Bayer, Down Agrosciences, Dupont, Monsanto and Syngenta – we prepared a summary on the use of poisons in Brazilian agriculture. The figures are worrying. While transnationals triumph with their profits, Brazil occupies the position of largest consumer of poisons in the world. The position, first occupied by the United States, was taken in 2008, when the market of pesticides moved to seven billion dollars. It was last year that a series of judicial decisions - driven by resources obtained from pesticide companies - has prevented the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) to conduct a review of 14 active ingredients (used in more than 200 pesticides). This scenario contributed to Brazil continuing to produce and import pesticides banned in several countries. According to the National System of Toxic-Pharmacological Information of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, toxins which are not sold in the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and China, have come to the Brazilian market. In the year 2009, the warning has taken over the process of re-evaluation of 13 substances. But pesticide business interests show that one more time the task of the agency will be arduous. Among the information collected from ANDEF is what the association calls the "Strategic Challenges for the Agricultural Industry," a list of eight items that have a point of highlighting the need to "expedite the registration process of new products". One also perceives that the poison industries are worried about the consumers. We see that one of the identified challenges is to "explain to society that the 'conventional' foods [sic] of agribusiness are healthier." The full report can be found (in Portuguese) at: http://www.mst.org.br/mst/documentos/consumo.agrotoxico.pdf Report by: Mariana Duque Escritório Nacional do MST- RJ