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Brazil GM soy move sparks green fury, farmer doubt

(Thursday, March 27, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Reuters via Agnet: RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Environmental activists reacted angrily on Thursday to a Brazilian government measure allowing the sale of genetically modified soybeans, while farmers were worried about its terms and temporary nature.

Traders said the measure dispelled uncertainty about marketing of this year's record harvest and would boost trade in Rio Grande do Sul, the No.3 soy producer state in Brazil, which is the world's second largest soy producer and exporter.

About 80 percent of the soy crop in Rio Grande and 12 percent of the national crop is privately estimated to be transgenic.

Greenpeace genetics campaigner Mariana Paoli said, "It's a serious attack on Brazilian justice."

The story explains that transgenic crops are banned in Brazil while a federal court considers whether the government's commission on biotechnology, CTNBio, has the authority to approve their commercial planting and sale.

On Wednesday, the president's spokesman said that a provisional measure would be published on Thursday allowing GM soybeans to be sold until the end of Jan. 2004.

Paoli charged that President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government had broken an election pledge to adopt a precautionary approach toward GM crops, carry out environmental impact studies and stop illegal planting.