Posted on Tue, February 12, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
1 Comments | Categories: Biodiversity, Farms and Farming, Policy, Take Action,
The New Mexico State Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 60 that provides New Mexico State University (NMSU) $250,000 for: "research on mechanical harvesting and genetic engineering of chile…" We have until Wednesday morning to get Governor Richardson to line item veto this funding.
Members of Slow Food Rio Grande met with the chile industry's lobbyist yesterday and one of the sponsors of the bill. The chile industry's contention is that they have lost market share to Peru due to lower costs, and that labor is difficult to find. In response, they have developed a mechanized picker but now need a stronger chile that can handle the pressure of the machine.
Certain varieties of chile have been crossed over the past years making the skin tougher, etc. But, these same growers/chile processing companies, currently have operations in Mexico. And one of these companies has been patenting the "process" of making chile, so chile grown in Mexico is now called "New Mexico Chile." They are currently patenting the names of traditional chiles as well. NMSU also will gain with the development of a GMO chile seed.
GMO seeds can potentially destroy the genetic diversity of New Mexico's natural habitat, causing deviations in the structure of native and wild species, and the ecosystem. This bill threatens the integrity of all chile seeds grown for generations locally and internationally. Many countries ban GMO products, so in effect this bill would limit exportation of all NM's chile products. (n.b. The New Mexican Chile is on Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste).
As consumers and representatives of organizations, as defenders of biodiversity and non-genetically modified food, we urge to you to please help us out by calling, emailing or faxing Governor Richardson to veto this funding.
With less than 24 hours, PLEASE call and email Governor Richardson. Let him know you will no longer eat chile products from NM, if this bill is funded.
1. Telephone: 505-476-2200
· Tell the person your name
· Tell them if you are a consumer, Slow Food member, farmer, etc, and from where
· Tell the person you want the Governor to:
Line Item Veto: In HB2 (House Bill 2), page 179, (7) Research & Public Service Projects (gg) CHILE INDUSTRY for $250,000.
· Click here or
· Copy into your browser: http://www.governor.state.nm.us/email.php?mm=6&type=opinion
· Choose issue: Legislative Session 2008
· Cut and Paste the Following in the Comments section:
Please Line Item Veto: In HB2, page 179, (7) Research & Public Service Projects (gg) CHILE INDUSTRY for $250,000.
3. Fax: 505-476-2257