Objections to Permit Applications

Objections to Permit Applications

APPEAL AGAINST MONSANTO’S BOGUS GM DROUGHT TOLERANT MAIZE HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR URGENT AGRICULTURE TRANSITION

17th December 2015

Starts

South Africa is in the grip of the worst drought since 1992, with many parts of the country experiencing record temperatures and little to no rain. The maize and transport industries are currently planning for a worst-case scenario, where the continent’s largest maize producer – South Africa – may potentially need to import 4 million metric tons of maize due to the prolonged drought. It is against this backdrop that the South African government has granted approval to Monsanto for it to market its wholly inadequate and over-hyped ‘climate smart’ solution to drought– genetically modified (GM) drought tolerant maize, also known as ‘MON87460.’ The controversial maize was developed under the auspices of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) funded project called Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA), currently operating in five African countries and aimed at ‘benefitting’ smallholder farmers.

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has consistently opposed MON87460 as unproven, unsafe and inappropriate for resource-poor smallholders. The organisation has formally appealed against its approval for commercial cultivation in South Africa. The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Senzeni Zokwana, has advised the ACB on the 15th December 2015 that he has established an Appeal Board to

ACB to battle SA Govt., Monsanto over controversial GM ‘drought tolerant’ maize

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has on 7th August 2015, lodged an appeal to Agriculture, Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Senzeni Zokwana, against the general release approval of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) maize, MON87460 granted by the Executive Council (EC): GMO Act. Such approval means that Monsanto can sell the GM maize seed, MON87460, to farmers in South Africa for cultivation.
MON87460 is alleged to be ‘drought tolerant;’ a claim the ACB vehemently disputes.
Administrative justice, procedural fairness and sound science to the test
The appeal is a test for administrative justice and procedural fairness in regard to GM decision-making in South Africa. Administrative decision-making must be based on rigorous food safety, environmental and socio-economic assessments of the potential adverse effects of MON87460, taking into international biosafety best practice.
According to the ACB, the EC’s approval is typical of GM decision-making, which simply reiterates and summarises information provided by Monsanto, who has a clear vested interest in the approval.  Such “rubber stamping” is unlawful. The EC is under a legal obligation to apply a risk averse and cautious approach, which takes into account uncertainties and the limits of current knowledge about the consequences of approving MON87460 for commercial

Objection to Monsanto’s application for commodity clearance for MON 89034 x MON 88017

This submission by Monsanto makes a joke of biosafety risk assessment in that it is not based on the actual event under consideration, but rather, the applicant posits claim of lack of harm, toxicity, and allergenicity based on data carried out on other lines containing the same transgene/event. This violates the case by case approach to GMO risk assessment enshrined in the GMO Act 1997. It also lacks sufficient scientific data to support claims of safety and this is exacerbated by lack of peer reviewed information on this event. In addition, the applicant has not considered the health impacts of the herbicide to which this event is engineered to tolerate. Furthermore, approval of this commodity import is likely to significantly impact upon commercial and emerging maize producers, and could have further impacts along the value chain. There are other issues affecting animal feed producers and consumers (the continuation of cheap chicken imports from the EU, for example), the resolution of which would do more to strengthen South Africa?s agricultural sector. It is the opinion of the ACB that this application should be rejected on both biosafety and socio-economic grounds.

read more

ACB?s objection to Dow?s application for field trials: MON 89034 x TC 1507 x MON NK603

The ACB has submitted an objection to an application by Dow Agro-sciences to conduct a field trial of the stacked GM maize event MON 89034 x TC 1507 x MON NK603. Most of the information required for an independent assessment has been omitted on the grounds that it is ?confidential business information?. What information has been provided is woefully inadequate, relies on discredited scientific principles, such as substantial equivalence, and makes broad claims of environmental and socio-economic ?benefits? without reference to any peer-reviewed studies.

The ACB believes that Dow?s application has failed to adequately show that MON89034 x 1507 x NK603 is safe for human, animal and environmental health, and should therefore be rejected by the Executive Council. The submission has been endorsed by the Southern Cape Land Committee.

read more

Objections to Monsanto’s application for spate of field trials with GM drought tolerant maize, September 2012

Field trials with MON 87460 are currently underway in South Africa at Hopetown, Orania, Pretoria, Lutzville and Delareyville.

These field trials form part of a larger initiative under the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project, a public-private partnership between African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF), Monsanto, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and the South African Agricultural Research Council (ARC). A combination of conventional breeding, marker-assisted breeding and transgenics are being used to develop maize with improved drought stress tolerance. WEMA also has partnerships with the national agricultural agencies of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique. According to the permit applications, “The goal of WEMA is to provide smallholder farmers in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa with access to water efficient transgenic maize hybrids, royalty free, enabling them to produce more reliable harvests”.

CONTENTS:

Introduction
Rational for this application
Status of approval of Monsanto‘s drought-tolerant maize in the USA
Our main concerns
The nature of drought resistance
Other approaches to drought
The mon87460 transgenic cassette
Lack of monitoring
Socio-economic impacts
Lack of biosafety capacity in South Africa
Conclusion
References

read more

Independent scientific biosafety assessment of the application for commodity clearance of transgenic soybean, DAS-68416-4

This is ACB’s objection to the application by Dow Chemicals for approval for import into SA of its GM soyabean 2,4 D and glufosinate ammonium (DAS-68416-4).

read more

Download additional information in a briefing paper “The new generation of GM herbicide crops – poison cocktail for ailing agriculture“.

ACB’s objection’s to Monsanto extended field trial application for drought tolerant maize

In 2007 Monsanto was granted a trial release permit to conduct field trials for its ‘drought tolerant’ maize event MON8746. These comments are in respect of a further extension application, submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in May 2011.

read more

ACB objections to Pioneer Hi-Bred’s field trial applications for four new GM maize variety

Pioneer Hi-Bred, who are currently attempting to acquire South Africa‘s largest remaining seed company, Pannar Seed, have submitted applications for field trials of four GM maize varieties. These are all stacked varieties inferring varying combinations of insect resistance and herbicide tolerance. Of particular concern is that all four varieties have been engineered to be used with glufosinate, a highly toxic herbicide that is set to be banned in the European Union.

read more