Policy Submissions

Policy Submissions

Standing up for farmer-saved seeds, agrobiodiversity and seed sovereignty! ACB commenting on revised seed laws in South Africa

ACB submitted comments on the Plant Breeders’ Rights and Plant Improvement Bills, to the Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources on the 24th January 2017.

These bills restrict the saving, trading, exchanging, and sale of seed. This can have massive ramifications on seed and food sovereignty, agricultural biodiversity, access to diverse seed, and increasing the disparities and inequalities in South African agriculture, food and nutrition.

ACB will continue to engage in this process to ensure that South African seed laws take into account farmer-managed seed systems, agrobiodiversity, and maintain farmer’s rights to save, reuse, exchange, and sell seed.

We invite interested parties to join this conversation, to fight for our right to seed.

 

Download the ACB Comments on the PBR Bill in pdf

Download the ACB Comments on the PIA Bill in pdf

Letters to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for urgent interventions: Dow?s 2,4 D + glufosinate ammonium+ glyphosate tolerant GM soya.

Request for intervention to uphold the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health ? GM crops engineered to be resistant to three herbicides: 2,4-D, glufosinate ammonium and glyphosate.

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Previous letters sent to:

Mr. Anand Grover
Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health

Previous letters sent to:

Mr. Anand Grover
Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health

28-11-2012

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19-03-2013

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Letter to the UN secretariat on 2,4D

Request for intervention on GMOs likely to have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity; GM soybean tolerant to 2,4-D, glufosinate and glyphosate (DAS-44406-6).

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Annex A GM crops in the pipeline: AnnexA-SR-physica-and-mental-health

ACB Comments on National Strategy on Agroecology

The Department of Agriculture is in the process of developing a Strategy for Agroecology for South Africa, with the aim of achieving ?an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable agro-ecology sector that contributes towards poverty alleviation, job creation, food security, economic development, climate change mitigation and adaptation?. It is not clear where the drive for this Strategy emerges from, given that South Africa did not support the findings of the IAASTD when it was up for signature in Johannesburg in 2008. However, the proposed Strategy seems to posit agroecology as another production technology, an add-on to our current system, rather than a transformation of our deeply entrenched industrial agricultural system, which is based on the privatization of agricultural resources and knowledge to deploy an environmentally destructive production system, ever at the mercy of skewed global trade relations.

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Comments on COMESA’s Draft Policy on Commercial Planting, Trade and Emergency Food Aid Involving Genetically Modified Organisms.

On the 8th and 9th May 2012 COMESA held a meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, to review a draft policy on the regulation and trade of GMOs for the region. While the Biotech Industry was very well represented at the meeting, civil society was completely left out of the process. This policy is being drafted behind closed doors to suit the trade interests of the major sponsor of the Policy – the United States government. Rather than ensure the most effective biosafety procedures for the Region, this policy is crafted to create an enabling environment for the free trade of GMOs with few checks and balances. The policy poses a threat to the national sovereignty of Member States, all but excludes public participation in the decision making process on GMOs and lowers the bar when it comes to risk assessments.

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This document is endorsed by:

ACB submission to the Secretariat of the Biosafety Protocol – discussions on socio-economic assessment (Article 26)

28 May 2011

The Secretariat of the Biosafety Protocol is engaging in discussions on socio-economic provisions related to decision-making and GMOs (Article 26). The ACB has submitted several studies from South Africa to enrich this discussion and has applied to participate in online discussions. These documents highlight South African experiences regarding the rejection of GM SpuntaG2 potato for commercial release, GM yeast and grapes for wine production and the failure of the governments Massive Food Production Programme in the Eastern Cape which promotes the use of GM maize for small scale farmers.

The following documents have been submitted:

– Covering letter/summary

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Executive summaries of two socio-economic studies carried out by the ARC on the impact of GM tubermoth-resistant potato entitled:

– Potential economic benefits of a genetically modified (GM) tubermoth-resistant potato variety in South Africa: an ex-ante socio-economic evaluation for commercial producers
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– Smallholder potato production activities in South Africa: a socio-economic and technical assessment of five cases in three provinces
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A study carried out by the Trust for Community Outreach and education on the Massive Food Production Programme in the Eastern Cape entitled: Threats to the Food Security and Food

Comments on COMESA’s Draft Policy on GMOs

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) was very recently handed a copy of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa‘s (COMESA) ‘Draft policy statements and guidelines for commercial planting of GMOs, Trade in GMOs and Emergency Food aid with GMO content’. Having perused the policy we are alarmed and outraged that COMESA appears to support the undermining and displacing of more than a decade’s worth of international, regional and national biosafety policies and legislation. It is the ACB‘s opinion that a small group of experts closely aligned to the Biotechnology, seed and agrochemical industry, frustrated by the lack of GMO adoption in African markets, drafted the policy behind closed doors. Stakeholders whose interests will be adversely affected by the far reaching proposals within the policy have been completely excluded from the process.

Further, it seeks to usurp the biosafety policy space of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (the pre-eminent international treaty on the cross border movement of GMOs), regional policies on food aid and the sovereign rights of COMESA member states. We implore COMESA members to reject the policy out of hand at their next meeting, scheduled to take place from the 12th