San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Ricans to march against Monsanto Saturday

Opposition against multinational biotechnology company Monsanto continues growing around the world, and Costa Ricans plan to take part.

A global march against the biotech company will take place on Saturday in 50 countries, with more than 400 cities participating.

In San José, the march will start at 2 p.m. at the Plaza de la Cultura, and will travel to major parks and markets. Organizers plan on distributing information to the public about the alleged risks of genetically modified organisms, heavy use of agrochemicals, and the multinational company’s virtual monopoly on agricultural biotechnology. Monsanto has spent millions of dollars to dispute the allegations that GMOs and other products are harmful.

Tico Times readers in Playa Santa Teresa and Malpaís, on Costa Rica’s southern Nicoya Peninsula, also said they planned to march.

For the last three decades, Monsanto has produced the world’s most-used agrochemical, glyphosate, otherwise known as Roundup, and biotechnology items that have commercialized GMOs.

Members of Costa Rica’s Bloque Verde, which opposes the introduction of GMOs into the country and one of the organizers of the march, say Monsanto owns 90 percent of the patents for GMOs around the world.

“Patenting seeds is the new way to dominate millenary agricultural knowledge of farmers and indigenous groups,” Bloque Verde said.

In January, Costa Rica’s National Biosecurity Technical Commission granted U.S. Company Delta & Pine Land seed Ltda (D&PL), a local subsidiary of Monsanto, permission to grow genetically modified corn in the country.

The decision is now facing a constitutional challenge by lawmaker José María Villalta of the Broad Front Party and local environmentalists. The case is Costa Rica’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court.

Across the country, 56 cantons have voted to declare themselves GMO-free zones.

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