Africa Regional

The expansion of the commercial seed sector in sub-Saharan Africa: Major players, key issues and trends

Sub Saharan Africa’s seed systems are undergoing a profound transition, with the private sector leading the way. This report outlines some of the major trends and activities of the major players involved in this, from Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the broader donor community.

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Appeal Board rejects GM potatoes for South Africa

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) welcomes the recent decision made by the Minister of Agriculture, Water Affairs and Fisheries and an Appeal Board rejecting the commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) potatoes in South Africa.

The ACB with the support of the South African public, vigorously campaigned over a number of years against the Agricultural Research Council (ARC’s) bid to bring GM potatoes, also known as “SpuntaG2,” to the South African market. The potatoes were genetically engineered to produce a toxin to kill the potato tuber moth. The ACB has always contended that the GM potato posed unacceptable risks to human and animal health, the environment and the farming community. GM Regulators in SA, the Executive Council: GMO Act, agreed and rejected ARC’s application in 2009, citing a long list of biosafety, health and socio-economic concerns. These were challenged by the ARC in an appeal, which they have now definitively lost.

Executive Director of ACB, Mariam Mayet said, “we have waited several long years for this decision and are extremely pleased that smallholder farmers will not be saddled with this unwanted and risky technology”. The research into the “SpuntaG2” potatoes was bankrolled by the United States Agency for International Development

The political economy of Africa’s burgeoning chemical fertiliser rush

The African Centre for Biosafety has today released an in-depth report, The Political Economy of Africa’s burgeoning chemical fertiliser rush, which looks at the role of fertiliser in the Green Revolution push in Africa, some of the key present and future fertiliser trends on the continent and the major players involved in this.

The value of the global fertiliser industry is immense. In 2012 the global sales of NPK fertilisers alone were over US$200 billion, compared to a total global pesticide market of US$75 billion. Though Africa accounts for only around 1.6% of global consumption, discoveries of huge deposits of natural gas around the continent (a key fertiliser ingredient) is expected to result in a flurry of fertiliser plant construction, the costs of which are likely to run in the billions of dollars.

In parallel developments, the promotion of fertiliser use in Africa is a core component of the new Green Revolution push on the continent. This is most clearly articulated by the Abuja Declaration of 2006, which called for average fertiliser use across the continent to increase for 8kg per ha to 50kg per ha by 2015. In the interim, numerous initiatives have place increasing fertiliser use (particularly by

Giving With One Hand and Taking With Two: A Critique of Agra’s African Agriculture Status Report 2013

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has released a comprehensive critique of a report published by the African Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The analysis of AGRA’s African Agriculture Status Report 2013 reveals that AGRA?s vision is premised on Public Private Partnerships in which African governments will shoulder the cost and burden of developing regulatory procedures and infrastructure to enable private agribusiness to profit from new African markets.

AGRA report Nov2013

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Monsanto’s failed SA GM Maize pushed into rest of Africa

Today the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) released a new report ?Africa bullied to grow defective Bt Maize: the failure of Monsanto?s MON810 maize in South Africa?i, showing how Monsanto?s GM maize, which utterly failed in SA, is now being foisted on the rest of the continent, through ?sleight of hand?.

Independent scientists have shown that Monsanto?s GM maize variety, MON810 ? which has been growing in SA for 15 years ? has completely failed due to the development of massive insect resistance, leading to the GM maize being withdrawn from the SA market. Monsanto has compensated farmers who were forced to spray their crops with pesticides to control the pests, calling into serious question the very rationale for GM crops.

According to the Director of the ACB, Mariam Mayet, ?Monsanto got the science completely wrong on this one. Independent biosafety scientists have discovered that the inheritance of resistance in African stem borers is a dominant, not recessive, trait as erroneously assumed. Hence the insect resistance management strategies that Monsanto developed, and accepted by our regulators, based on these erroneous assumptions, were utterly ineffective.?

Undeterred, Monsanto is now pushing its flop GM maize onto the rest of the continent. According

Africa bullied to grow defective BT Maize: the failure of Monsanto’s M810 maize in South Africa

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has released a new report ‘Africa bullied to grow defective Bt Maize: the failure of Monsanto’s MON810 maize in South Africa,’ showing how Monsanto’s GM maize which utterly failed in SA, is now being foisted on the rest of the continent, through ‘sleight of hand.’

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AFSA Statement Condemning COMESA Approval of Seed Regulations

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa[1] strongly condemns the approval during September 2013, by the Council of Ministers of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) of the draft COMESA Seed Trade Harmonization Regulations, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the ?Seed Regulations?).

The COMESA Seed Regulations will greatly facilitate agricultural transformation in the COMESA member states towards industrialization of farming systems based on the logic of the highly controversial, failed and hopelessly doomed Green Revolution model of agriculture. The COMESA Regulations are geared towards creating an enabling environment for massively increased private sector participation in seed trade in the COMESA region as it promotes only one type of seed breeding, namely industrial seed breeding involving the use of advanced breeding technologies.

We demand that the COMESA Seed regulations be scrapped in their entirety. We call upon donors to desist from supporting the implementation of these regulations, which undermine our national sovereignty and policy space. We call for an open, transparent process, involving small farmers especially, to discuss appropriate seed laws for Africa, where the obligation of protecting biodiversity, farmers? rights and overall ecological productivity is entrenched as a primary objective.

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

AFSA Statement Condemning COMESA Approval of GMO Policy

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa[1] is alarmed at the approval during September 2013, by the Council of Ministers of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) of the COMESA ?Draft Policy Statements and Guidelines for commercial planting of GMOs, Trade in GMOs and Emergency Food aid with GMO content.? The COMESA Policy aggressively promotes the wholesale proliferation of GMOs on the African continent by way of commercial plantings, commodity imports and food aid and flouts international biosafety law.

The Policy is intent on creating a clumsy, confusing, cumbersome and prohibitively exorbitant centralised regional decision making system that is utterly at odds with the provisions as set out in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and national biosafety frameworks. All of the COMESA member states have ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Almost all COMESA member states have developed their own National Biosafety Frameworks (NBFs), indicating that decision- making concerning GMOs is to be made at the national level.

Why then the need for this harmonised Policy? If not to by pass international and national biosafety regulations requiring case by case biosafety assessments, because the biotechnology industry, agribusiness, free trade proponents and the food aid industry are

Do African Farmers Need CAADP?

The Peoples’ Dialogue and the Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE) have written a short booklet on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the African Union’s framework for agricultural development for Africa, titled ?Do African Farmers Need CAADP??

The objective is to summarise and simplify information on CAADP so as to, collectively, create awareness and discussion among small-scale/peasant farmers and the organisations that work with them, on the potential threats and implications for our various food sovereignty campaigns, as multinationals aim to penetrate and control agricultural policies and food and other agricultural production in Africa.

The direct link to the publication is: ?http://www.tcoe.org.za/downloads/general/80-tcoe-caadp.html

Africa demands Tiger Brands to Go GM Free

Letter from ACB to Tiger Brands supported by 39 African organisations working at grass-roots on issues of agriculture, consumer concerns and primary health care calling upon Tiger Brands to go GM free. Tiger Brands operates in 25 African countries and has ownership of a number of food manufacturers on the continent including Chococam (Cameroon), Deli Foods (Nigeria), EATBI (Ethiopia), Haco Tiger Brands (Kenya), National Foods (Zimbabwe), UAC Foods (Nigeria), Dangote Flour Mills (Nigeria).

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