Genetically modified cotton plant appealed

Environmentalists, eight politicians and others are part of a constitutional court appeal that targets genetically modified cotton.

Once again, actions of the agencies that approves planting such crops are the targets of the appeal.

The  Comisión Técnica Nacional de Bioseguridad published last December that it had approved a request by Dow AgroSciences de Costa Rica S. A. Like many genetically modified plants, the cotton variety  Enlist resists the firm’s weed killer.

A release by the organization backing the appeal,  Federación Ecologista, said that Bayer S.A. has an application in process to plant its own genetically modified cotton.

Previous efforts against genetically modified crops were directed at corn. The allegation was that the pollen of the modified corn would pollute the genetic makeup of native corn of which there are about 50 varieties.

But the allegation this time is more technical. The appeal argues that the  Comisión Técnica Nacional de Bioseguridad, the Ministerio de Agruicultura y Ganadría and the  Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado did not make available information about the application to the public and that the approval system has not changed despite a 2014 Sala IV constitutional court decision that said it should.

The appeal document is straight forward, but the press release that accompanied it is critical of Dow’s history. This is the company that created Agent Orange for Vietnam war use and the banana spray nemagón that caused sterility in agricultural workers, it says. The firm also is one of six that dominate

An example of the Enlist variety cotton.

An example of the Enlist variety cotton.

the world agrichemical market it added.

 Eight sitting lawmakers of  Frente Amplio were among those who signed the appeal, said the press release.

The appeal asked the constitutional court to freeze the approval for planting the seeds and to order the agricultural agencies to set up a mechanism so that those interested can have access to the technical information and have a chance to express themselves over the application.

Dow would grow the cotton for its seeds that would be exported. The location would be in Cañas. Enlist cotton provides exceptional crop tolerance to Enlist Duo herbicide, a combination of glyphosate and new 2,4-D choline, and full tolerance to glufosinate herbicides, the firm said.

Costa Rica has had plantings of genetically  modified soybeans, pineapple, banana, corn, rice and tiquizque since 1991.

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