Environmentalists spread corn kernels and beat drums outside of San José’s Legislative Assembly on Wednesday as four lawmakers announced their support for a bill that would place a moratorium on the expansion of genetically modified organisms in Costa Rica.
“This moratorium is urgent,” said José María Villalta, a lawmaker with the Broad Front Party and one of the bill’s sponsors. “GMOs pose risks to life and biodiversity, while only benefitting large corporations.”
The bill would prohibit the creation of new GMO projects or the expansion of those currently in Costa Rica. Companies that already have permission to grow or use GMOs could continue, but any genetically modified material would have to be contained indoors.
While environmental groups applauded the bill, biotechnology firms called a moratorium “unnecessary.”
“It is important to stress that countries resort to moratoriums when there is a reasonable doubt about a new technology,” said Martín Zúñiga, executive director for biotechnology company CropLife Latin America. “Agricultural biotechnology is a science that has been sufficiently investigated and proven to be positive for the world.”