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Raising Resistance by Borgveld, Bettina & Bernet, David

This beautiful shot documentary explores the difficult issue of contemporary soy production, where traditional agriculture has to give way to modern production techniques. In Raising Resistance we see the struggle of poor farmers against the expanding production of Genetically modified soy in South America. However, the documentary also shows the viewpoint of the big farmers, mostly coming from a poor background themselves, who try to maximize the output of their crops by using genetically modified soyplants.

Biotechnology, mechanisation, and herbicides have radically changed the lives of small farmers in Latin America. The soy used by the big farmers has been genetically modified to withstand the strongest herbicides. When these soyfields are sprayed with the special formulated herbicide Roundup all the plants, except the modified soy, will die. Needless to say the regular crops of farmers on adjacent farmland, as well as their own health suffers because of the Roundup herbicide.

For these farmers, called the campesinos, who actively oppose this method of farming this means displacement from their land, loss of basic food supplies, and a veritable fight for survival. As corporate farms seize farmland and rapidly expand production of genetically modified soy, farmers like Geronimo Arevelos find themselves in a life and death struggle. Because of their desperation the campesinos from several villages in the region are organised in an activist group. This group directly confronts the people who are working for the big farmers often leading to clashes, even violence.

Raising Resistance illustrates the mechanisms of a global economy that relies on Monocropping and corporate ownership of land. In telling the story of Paraguay, Raising Resistance poses the larger question of whether the global community wants to go on living with a system that allows one crop to prosper at the expense of all others.

Borgveld, Bettina & Bernet, David
Copyright Holder
Java Films SARL
52 min.
Year of release

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