The Potato Park and the Asociación ANDES have taken a number of actions in Cusco and Lima to demonstrate their rejection of the new Supreme Decree 003 of the Ministry of Agriculture, which allows the entrance of GMOs into Peru.
Members of the Potato Park and the Asociación ANDES met with the Regional Government of Cusco and farmers’ federations to consolidate a regional position on the Supreme Decree, held press conferences and several information sessions, and participated in peaceful protests in both Cusco and Lima. On May 9th, the delegation met with the mayor of Lima, Susana Villaran, and participated in a special session with councilors and visiting mayors of other Lima districts, where the possibility of an initiative declaring Lima a GMO-free zone was discussed.
Following this meeting, a symbolic act of cleansing native potatoes and the Peruvian and Inca flag was performed a few meters from the Plaza de Armas in Lima with participation of Susana Villaran. As Mariano Sutta, Vice-President of the Potato Park, explained to the press the cleansing was performed because “ Peru must be clean and our native products should not be stained by products that come from elsewhere.”
The actions taken by the Potato Park and ANDES have added indigenous peoples voices to those of scientists, chefs, restaurant owners, NGOs, politicians, and other members of civil society. Such actions and the protests of a wide range of groups and individuals have had an impact in this controversial political matter which could have devastating effects on farmers from the Potato Park and elsewhere in Peru. In response to the protests, Peru's Congress repealed the decree on June 8 by a 56 to 0 vote, with two abstentions. The bill has placed a 10-year moratorium on the entrance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for cultivation and breeding or any other type of transgenic products. However, the transgenic battle in Peru is far from over.
The Potato Park and ANDES hope to capitalize on the current widespread rejection of GMOs to work towards a GMO-free Peru.
While this battle is being fought in Peru, the issue is not just a Peruvian or South American concern, but is one that is shared by many brothers and sisters all over the world who struggle to conserve agrobiodiversity and native crops against the interests of large corporations and governments.
We hope our experience can serve as a model and a catalyst for communities in other regions of the world.
For more information, refer to the ANDES web page (www.andes.org.pe).