Biotech: More technical decisions, less politics

For agricultural producers, the use of precision biotechnology in Guatemala requires a specialized committee so that the authorities' decisions are based on technical and scientific evidence, and not under the influence of political or ideological interests.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Guatemala already has regulations in this area, since on October 1, 2019, the regulatory framework signed by the Ministry of Economy with its counterparts in El Salvador and Honduras came into effect.

However, after the National Alliance for the Protection of Biodiversity (Anaprob) applied for protection to the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), the technical regulation on biosafety of living organisms for agricultural use was provisionally suspended.

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Carla Caballeros, executive director of the Chamber of Agriculture (Camagro) explained to that "... the provisional injunction was granted because the SJC is legally obliged to do so and because the Ministry of Economy did not send the administrative report it was required to do. Therefore, this decision could change during the rest of the appeal process when the SJC has all the information on the case. Since it did not have all the background and information it requested, by law, it was forced to resolve the case in this way."

Biotechnology does not focus on GMO issues, as it encompasses a variety of agricultural technology developments for new varieties of vegetables, fruits, and others. Adaptation to climate change is another advantage provided using this technology.

Gentlemen added that "... This type of new technology requires a specialized committee so that decisions are based on technical and scientific evidence.  And to reduce the discretion of political or ideological opinion of officials', the editing of genomes, new tools for plant breeding, are part of the rules that are in the manuals of the Maga."

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