Paraguay: Campesino Families Block Fumigation of Soy Fields

[img_assist|nid=106|title=truck arriving with riot cops to protect spraying tractor|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=150|height=113]Reto Sonderegger: One hundred campesino residents were able to block the agrotoxic fumigation of a new soy field in the 4th line of the Ybypé community in the Lima district of the department of San Pedro.

In this “line” [section] of the town, parcels of campesino land were sold to Brazilian soy growers, who dismantled the parcels entirely with tractors and planted soy. The residents, aware of the dangers represented by the pesticides used to fumigate the soy fields, have successfully resisted every intent to fumigate these parcels. During this small but important victory on January 7, 2007, local leaders were able to convince the police, who were protectingthe fumigation tractors, of their arguments. There were no confrontations between the “blue helmets” [police] and the residents.

In the department of San Pedro above all, a popular movement is asserting itself more and more forcefully against the application of pesticides to genetically modified soy monoculture crops. With appeals for legal protection backed by the Paraguayan Huuman Rights Committee [Coordinadora de Derechos Humanos del Paraguay (CODEHUPY)], movements are public attention to the soy growers’ lack of observance of means of protection, such as the installation of live barriers like tall bushes or other plants to block the drift of soy field pesticides the into community lands.

On the other hand, the soy growers need to apply their chemical products now in order not to loose a large amount of money in the harm that pests provoke in their crops. Their economic interests and the resident families' actions of self-defense are creating intense clashes in all areas where monoculture crops border campesino settlements.