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From April 27, 2005

Monsanto Infiltrates School Books In Brazilian Public Schools
(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2005) Monsanto, the agribusiness giant known for the production and aggressive marketing and patenting of genetically modified seeds, is moving into Brazilian public schools to write the books on agriculture and environment for the next generation, according to an April 20 Bulletin of GM-Free Brazil.

For years Brazil fought global pressure and banned the importation of GM crops or seeds. In 1999, a federal judge ruled that Brazilian farmers could not grow genetically modified crops--at least not until there was more scientific investigation and a country GM ensued. The government finally caved and by 2003 Brazil had more than seven million acres planted with GM crops, ranking it as the fourth largest amount of acreage devoted to GM crops in the world, according to a 2003 report by International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (see Daily News).

Monsanto lobbied hard to tear down GM barriers previously erected in Brazil; using deceiving advertising to sell its agenda and actively sponsoring the smuggling of transgenic seeds from Argentina to Brazil, according to GM-Free Brazil, an international periodical news bulletin.

Now, the group says, Monsanto has targeted the indoctrination of kids in 5049 public schools through a new partnership with a publishing house that publishes and distributes school materials. The project is touted as a generous gift, part of Monsanto’s corporate social responsibility, and is supported by Brazil’s Ministry of Culture. According to GM-Free Brazil, Monsanto also announced that, 560 junior and high school teachers, educators and instructors are receiving “information, support textbooks and additional training courses regarding two of the most important matters of our present reality: agriculture and environment.”

Monsanto has a treacherous track record – in the West the corporation is best known for developing controversial GM seeds, suing small farmers like Percy Schmeiser (see Daily News) and generally abusing U.S. patent law to control farmer’s usage of staple crop seeds (see The Center for Food Safety report).

TAKE ACTION: Call for an end to the insidious collaboration between Monsanto and Brazil’s public schools. Send an email to Brazil’s Minister of Culture (Gilberto Gil), Cabinet Executive Adolpho Netto, and Communications Assessor Luiz Artur Toríbio. For more information, contact GM-Free Brazil.