After the various Free Trade Agreements (TLC) between Colombia, the United States, Canada, and the European Union, the AELE (Island, Lichstenstein, Norway and Switzerland) amongst others, the food crisis, and the vulnerability worlwide of small farmers has worsened. Many new laws have been created in Colombia to facilitate the imports of food and seeds. At this moment 85% of Colombian corn consumption comes mostly from the United States. This information creates a great deal of consternation when we know that Colombia was totally self sufficient in corn production 25 years ago. Industrially produced and heavily subsidized corn coming from North America, competes in a very disfavorable way with Colombian corn, which is mostly traditionally produced together with other foodstaples such as beans and squash tradicionally grown together. This method being much more balanced not only for the environment but also as a diet.
Since the 1970’s, another phenomenom has flourished in the form of heavily imported Hybrid seeds F1 and it’s massively promoted in part by Governmental Institutions implying logos such as “Better Seeds”which promised much more “Performance,Yield and Efficiency”. As a result this has produced the greatest food dependency in International corn seed markets , for consumption and for sowing, creating a serious loss in autonomous farming , conservation know-how, production , selection , exchange, and sale of the domestic seeds. Even so , in more remote regions of Colombia, because of more difficult geographical conditions, tradicional farm culture has still been preserved , as in the corn tradition , produced mainly for personal consumption. Many groups and rural initiatives have organized themselves tu protect and keep their food sovereignty, caring out an important task of production, distribution and sale of Native and Creole seeds.
Recently a new menace against Native and Creole seeds has arrived. The GMO’s. In Colombia they have been authorized for production and consumption. Currently there is already 85.000 Hectares of cultivated GMO corn planted in Colombia, which corresponds to 15% of the corn cultivated surface in Colombia.
Our “Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Vida” (Guardian Network of living Seeds) works to preserve the agrobiodiversity in the framework of Agroecology , with the purpose to furnish the local markets with seeds and quality food , in quantity, quality, and diversity. Our task is difficult since the Government promotes laws which create obtacles for local farming production, privileging large Multinational Companies, and does not provide information concerning health consequences of transgenic foods. It is now a fact that there are now many cases of GMO contamination on our autonomous corn. Since 2015 we are busy working on the precense of GMO contamination and have found various cases in some of our varieties. The protection of our seeds against GMO contamination has become our priority. The survival of the indegenous farming culture still existing in the Colombian country side is ultimately dependant in the freedom of our seeds and that they be cultivated in free GMO lands.