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Subsiste el cultivo de algodón en Coahuila con uso de transgénicos

Fecha: 
Mar, 2014-08-05

Agricultores utilizan semillas de Monsanto en 18 mil hectáreas de la Comarca Lagunera

Pierden hasta mil pesos por paca; estamos pagando por producir

Proponen a autoridades aumentar el precio de garantía y apoyar la creación de cooperativas en lugar de darles despensas

Leopoldo Ramos
Corresponsal
Periódico La Jornada
Martes 5 de agosto de 2014, p. 29

Torreón, Coah., 3 de agosto.

El cultivo de algodón en la Comarca Lagunera, tradición que data del siglo XIX, ha empezado a repuntar con el uso de semillas transgénicas. En las 18 mil hectáreas que se siembran cada año en esa región se emplea tecnología de la trasnacional Monsanto.

El algodón genéticamente modificado empezó a sembrarse hace una década. Si bien la semilla de las compañías trasnacionales es más cara, los productores compensan el costo con el ahorro en insecticidas, pues es más resistente a las plagas.

–¿Qué los llevó a sembrar semilla transgénica? Ésta era una región de bonanza algodonera –se pregunta a Natividad Navarro Morales, uno de los 2 mil productores que hay en San Pedro de las Colonias, a unos 40 kilómetros de Torreón.

–Se elevaron los costos de producción porque no hay una banca oficial como antes para apoyar a los productores con créditos blandos y oportunos. Además, la competencia creció con el uso de materiales sintéticos cuya producción es más barata. Las textileras empezaron a optar por el poliéster.

La principal preocupación de los cerca de 4 mil productores de algodón en la Comarca Lagunera de Coahuila es que el gobierno federal les quite los subsidios.

Apenas para sobrevivir

Navarro Morales, quien siembra semillas transgénicas desde hace ocho años, se mantiene en el oficio prácticamente para sobrevivir, pues el precio en la Bolsa de Nueva York anda bajo, en 69 centavos de dólar, es decir, unos nueve pesos por 453.3 gramos.

Recuerda que antes de 2006 los agricultores tenían un incentivo en las reglas de operación de la Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (Sagarpa), denominado Programa de Ingreso Objetivo.

Si vendían el algodón a menos del precio de garantía, que era de 69 centavos de dólar por libra, un buen precio en esas fechas, el gobierno federal compensaba la diferencia.

Sin embargo, en 2007 se eliminó el programa de subdidios. Los algodoneros de Coahuila y Durango han participado en foros nacionales para pedir que vuelvan los subsidios, a fin de poder competir en los mercados internacionales. Si bien su petición fue escuchada por la Sagarpa y otras dependencias, la situación económica no cambió.

Foto
Un campesino pizca algodón en uno de los campos de la Comarca Lagunera, en Coahuila. Según investigadores, la mejor época de la producción de algodón en la región fue en la década de 1950, cuando se sembraron más de 60 mil hectáreas, pero la escasez de agua y la internacionalización del precio acabaron con la bonanza. El sector ahora apuesta al uso de semillas genéticamente modificadasFoto Leopoldo Ramos

Los agricultores propusieron que el precio de garantía se fijara en 85 centavos de dólar (11.22 pesos), pues de esa manera los campesinos tendrán herramientas para trabajar y subsistir, y no demandará tanto programa social, como las despensas, a las que tienen que recurrir porque actualmente estamos pagando por producir.

Los productores también piden que se les ayude a crear cooperativas para exportar directamente, lo cual eliminaría el intermediarismo. Los coyotes, explicó, se llevan unos 15 centavos de dólar por libra.

Producir una paca de algodón cuesta al agricultor unos 5 mil pesos y la venden a un precio que va de 3 mil 800 a 4 mil pesos a las comercializadoras, entre ellas Algodonera Mexicana y Fita, que se llevan el producto a Estados Unidos, lo almacenan y lo sacan conforme se mueve el mercado.

En manos de las trasnacionales

La semilla que actualmente se usa es la Deltapine, de Monsanto, con tecnología de triple gen, y también la producida por Bayer.

Explica que la semilla transgénica es cara porque sólo necesita una aplicación de insecticidas y resiste prácticamente todas las plagas, salvo el picudo algodonero, insecto que el año pasado puso en riesgo unas 9 mil hectáreas de cultivos, la mitad de la producción regional.

Un costal de 20 kilos de semillas –detalla– cuesta unos 3 mil pesos y es suficiente para sembrar poco más de hectárea y media. Sin embargo, el precio de la semilla está en manos de las trasnacionales, ya que sólo ellas la pueden distribuir debido a que tienen las patentes.

“La semilla transgénica nos ha beneficiado, pero no deja de ser un producto modificado. Nos da buena calidad de la fibra, pero uno de sus efectos colaterales es que la semilla hija –la cual surge en la planta después de la primera cosecha– se podría estar utilizando como complemento para el alimento del ganado. Quién sabe qué efectos pueda tener eso en la salud de los humanos”, concluye Navarro Morales.