The home of Petrona Villasboa is surrounded by genetically modified (GM) soy fields. The golden crop looks like a bumper harvest but for her it is a symbol of death.
“Soy destroys people’s lives,” she says. “It is a poison. It is no way to live. Soy is deadly to us”.
Sitting outside her painted green shack in rural Paraguay, the mother of eight describes the day in January 2003 when her 11-year-old son Silvino Talavera came home from cycling to the shops.
“I was washing clothes down by the river and he came to tell me he had been sprayed by one of the mosquitoes (the spraying machines behind a tractor),” she says.
“He smelt so bad that he took his clothes off and jumped straight in the water.”
The busy mum did not think much more about it. For people living around GM soy fields spraying with chemicals is a common occurrence.
Read More: GM soy: The invisible ingredient ‘poisoning’ children