Ady R. Silva - Agronomist, PhD in plant genetics, former MAPA officer. -
Restrictions to the Application of Research Results in Tropical Agriculture

Ady Raul da Silva *


There is an intense international campaign against the development of tropical countries that focuses mainly on the non-utilization of the natural resources. This campaign has been extremely successful in Brazil and has led to a restrictive legislation over the use of natural resources on 50% of the territory. Although Brazil has the most restrictive environmental legislation in the world, environmentalists are pressing ahead for additional curbs to development.

Non governmental organizations (NGOs) originating in or financed by First World countries are driving this campaign with two objectives in mind:

• Keeping 80% of the world"s population made up by the poorest people in the world from consuming natural resources at the same pace as the developed nations, since this would cause environmental problems and bring about scarcity, according to data from The World Bank and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

• Preventing agricultural products from poor countries from competing with those of their countries, which are not competitive and only survive in international markets through subsidies to production and commercialization, customs barriers and other measures restricting imports, thus violating the principles of free trade that they require poor countries to adopt vis à vis their own industrialized products and services.

This environmentalist campaign uses two different mechanisms to restrict or prevent the use of technological breakthroughs arising from research:

• Preventing the use of large areas for farming, cattle ranching and forestry activities an area equivalent to 49. 1% of the Brazilian territory, increasing to 79,6% when the restricted areas are included.

• Demoralizing and discouraging the use of technology that enables or increases production and productivity in farming and forestry, such as fertilizing techniques, pesticides, biotechnology products, as well as the introduction of more efficient species, all of which are widely used in the rich countries.

The rich countries insist on the developing countries adopting what they call sustainable development, basically corresponding to controlled extractivism, that produce very low yields and condemn rural populations to very low standards of living, unacceptable for their own populations.

The main focus of their campaign is the deification of native forests and maintenance of biodiversity. In addition, they strongly oppose the development of farming, cattle ranching, forestry, and mining. Their restrictions extend to the whole infrastructure, including hydropower plants, highways and waterways, as well as any financing of production and infrastructure. Thus, they prevent the development of the whole population and not only of those associated with the rural production sector.

It would be necessary; therefore, to adopt the principle that they have establish for and practice themselves: protecting the environment provided that the socio economic development is not affected and ensuring good standards of living for our population.

Source: Science Agriculture and Society – Technical Editor: Prof. Dr. E. Paterninai – EMBRAPA – Brasilia – 505 pages.

* Agronomist, PhD, former officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Supply – MAPA.


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