Peru Renews its Moratorium Law Against Genetically Modified Organisms

On January 6, 2021, the Peruvian Congress enacted a moratorium law prohibiting the entry and production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) within its borders for the next 15 years. 

Following an extensive campaign that mobilised farmers, citizens and more than 30 organisations under the banner “Biodiversity is our Identity: United for a GMO-free Peru”, the country renewed its ban until December 21st, 2035. 

Luis Gomero Osorio, president of the Consorcio Agroecológico Peruano which initiated the campaign, reacted: “It is now time to start working in a coordinated and participatory way to make this law an instrument for the sustainable management of resources and agrobiodiversity, so that we can all benefit—especially the small and medium producers who have historically been the ones who conserved these resources which are of great value and are the capital support that we have as a country.” 

The core element for the GMO Moratorium in Peru has been “agro-biodiversity” and the right to conserve this valuable resource to face the challenges of food security, climate change and sovereignty. The GMO Moratorium disables and discourages deforestation of the Amazon and fosters diversified, resilient agroecosystems producing nutritious food in a context of sanitary crisis and climate change.

This measure is an opportunity to appreciate and preserve Peru's biodiversity, a priceless resource that has been in the hands of more than 2 million smallholders, farmers and indigenous people for millennia. 

The moratorium also supports Peruvian farmers in their efforts to supply high-quality food for healthy and sustainable diets and food systems.

The agroecological movement is expecting to be invited to discuss the law regulation.

With the moratorium in place, four key actions should be implemented:

  1. Continue working on baselines of agrobiodiversity to have clear information and understanding of the status of conservation or threats, while also value these resources.
  2. Identify agrobiodiversity zones in the country with the aim to protect specific ecosystems that are not yet studied or assessed as well as their biodiversity.
  3. Develop the institutional capacity of the public and private sectors to achieve the objective of the GMO moratorium law but also to promote, demonstrate and scale up sustainable solutions based on agroecology and organic production.
  4. Strengthen the surveillance and monitoring system to avoid gaps and weakness on the illegal introduction of GMO seeds.

The unity of the agroecological movement has been a key factor for this story. The civil society organised a platform “Peru Libre de Transgenicos” where more than 100 CSOs participated virtually, with a professional campaign “Our Diversity is Our Identity” enabled by qualified social communicators, helped to reach a broad audience and stakeholders. 

The alliance with stakeholders from the gastronomy sector was an important back-up. Renowned chefs produced teasers and public statements that were shared across social media. At the international level, IFOAM - Organics International brought visibility to the campaign through its media and networks and the agroecological movement.

IFOAM - Organics International contacted Dr. Hans Herren, President and CEO of the Millenium Institute, co-Founder and President at Biovision and IFOAM World Board Member, to address (former) President Martín Vizcarra as discussions on the GMO Moratorium were taking place. This was his message: