Tag Archive: agribusiness

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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GM Maize Cartels Gorge Profits on SA’s Poor, Eye African Markets

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today released its new research report titled ‘GM Maize: Lessons For Africa-Cartels, Collusion And Control Of South Africa’s Staple Food’ showing how a select group of companies, including Tiger Brands, Pioneer and Premier Foods who have previously fixed the price of bread and maize meal, commandeer the entire maize value chain and continue to squeeze the poorest South Africans. The ACB has recently shown that the entire maize meal market is saturated with GM maize.

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The report shows that the South African government, through the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is the largest investor in Tiger Brands, and that over 50% of the company’s shares are held outside South Africa. Pioneer Foods’ largest shareholder is Zeder, the agribusiness investment arm of PSG Konsult Group, a private financial services company. Premier Foods is 80% owned by private equity firm Braite, listed on the Euro MTF market in Luxemburg but domiciled in Malta, both jurisdictions being notorious tax havens. ‘These ownership patterns have increased the distance between food producers and consumers, and are lucrative avenues for capital accumulation by actors far removed from these firms’ locales.’ Said Mariam Mayet, Director

GM Maize: lessons for Africa – Cartels collusion and control of South Africa’s staple food

This is a briefing about power and control in our food system, focusing chiefly on South Africa’s staple food, maize. It shows how a select group of companies, including Tiger Brands, Pioneer and Premier Foods commandeer the entire maize value chain and continue to squeeze the poorest South Africans. These corporate giants are now glancing covetously to the vast African market north of the Limpopo. Experiences from South Africa should serve as stark warnings.

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Press statement.

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

G8 “Hunger Summit” initiative rejected by African civil society – Corporate takeover of agriculture & land will increase hunger, groups claim

At the heart of the leading initiatives to ?modernise? African agriculture is a drive to open markets and create space for multinationals to secure profits. Green revolution technologies ? and the legal and institutional changes being introduced to support them ? will benefit a few at the expense of the majority.

As world leaders gather at the high profile ?Hunger Summit? in London this week to endorse the spate of on-going initiatives to ?modernise? African agriculture, 57 farmer and civil society organisations from 37 countries across the continent have slammed these efforts as ?a new wave of colonialism?. Harmonisation, free trade and the creation of institutions and infrastructure to facilitate multinational companies’ penetration into Africa are presented as the answer to food insecurity on the continent. These large multinational seed, fertiliser and agrochemical companies are setting the agenda for the G8?s “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa”, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the implementation of the African Union?s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).

English

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French

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Portuguese

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South Africa exports ?unapproved? GM maize to Zimbabwe, continues to export to Mexico, contaminating both the region and centre of origin

African Centre for Biosafety, ETC Group, FoodMattersZimbabwe and CTDT

The ACB is deeply concerned by the news that the South African GMO authorities have permitted over 25,000 tons of GM maize to be exported to Zimbabwe. This is the first time that South African GM maize grains have been commercially exported to our neighbour north of the Limpopo, and adds to a growing list of African countries that have received bulk shipments of live GM grains from South Africa, including Swaziland, Mozambique, Kenya and Somalia.

Read the release in Spanish.

According to a spokesperson for the FoodMattersZimbabwe group ?Zimbabweans are under the impression that maize would be imported from Zambia and will be deeply upset by this news to import GM maize from South Africa. The government of Zimbabwe is currently promoting the use of open pollinated varieties (OPVs) of seed to strengthen our farmers? self-reliance. The importation of GM maize poses a serious risk of contaminating our OPV varieties; at the very least this GM maize must be milled before entering the country. ?

However, a cloud hangs over the legality of the shipments and whether the South African GMO authorities have indeed received an explicit written approval

Feeding the Dragon: Durban conference to promote massive GM soya push in Africa

Durban will host the 9th World Soybean Research Conference 17-22nd February 2013, sponsored by the Ethekwini Municipality and agrochemical corporations Monsanto, Syngenta and Dupont. The theme of the conference is ?From China to Africa ? Can research close the gap between soy production and increasing global demand.?

 

According to Mariam Mayet, Director of the African Centre for Biosafety, ?The World Soybean conference is really about the promotion of mono-cultures of genetically modified (GM) soya for global export markets. This is in keeping with the current trend of external investment in African agricultural land and resources for the production of commodities for other parts of the world, with the Chinese meat industry being a key driver.

In Africa, farms of less than 2 hectares account for 70-90% of farms in most African countries, and which produce the bulk of staple food crops1. The introduction of soya plantations will disrupt food production and supply systems and have serious implications for food security and livelihoods across the continent.?

China?s economic boom has profoundly impacted on the global food system. Its total meat consumption now stands at a whopping 71 million tons! Indeed, more than a quarter of all

African farm analysts demand answers from UK over DfID funding Is the UK setting up a poverty trap for African farmers?

The Africa Centre for Biosafety (ACB), supported by Food & Water Europe and the Gaia Foundation, today wrote to UK Ministers for International Development, Business and Environment asking for evidence for the basis of UK overseas aid policy.*

ACB recently published a searing critique of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (known as AGRA, supported by agribusiness multinationals and the Gates Foundation). The study finds the scheme is ultimately not about developing lasting solutions to hunger, but imposing a cash economy on African agriculture that will inevitably result in farmers becoming dependent on the multinational corporations profiting from the hardship that will follow.

AGRA effectively seeks to institutionalise biopiracy by accessing publicly available genetic resources, patenting or imposing other intellectual property rights on the resulting seeds, and then using these industrial monoculture crops to channel African farmers into focusing on earning enough export cash to buy the privatised seed. The AGRA model uses free inputs to develop monopoly control over outputs and expects farmers to pay for seeds they previously shared and traded, and played a major part in developing over thousands of years.

AGRA?s model creates the foundation for the expansion of biotechnology and synthetic agricultural inputs,

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA): laying the groundwork for the commercialisation of African agriculture

We consider AGRA’s broad philosophy and structure, focusing on AGRA’s own views or those of its consultants, before turning to a more detailed consideration of its specific work in the Programme for Africa’s Seed Systems (PASS) and, in slightly less detail, its Soil Health Programme (SHP). These programmes are inseparable because seed and soil fertility technologies are interlinked. Seed and fertiliser are the fundamental technological interventions on which AGRA’s strategies hang. The paper concludes with thoughts for ways for the broad agroecological and food and seed sovereignty movements to respond to AGRA.

Our conclusions include the following: AGRA is undoubtedly laying the groundwork for the commercialisation of African agriculture and its selective integration into global circuits of accumulation. Benefits will be unevenly spread and we should expect accelerated divergences in farmer interests. This will lead to greater class differentiation and a deepening commodification of African agriculture (subordinating agricultural products to the imperatives of exchange for the realisation of surplus value, rather than as use values in their own right).

The shadow of Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and other seed and agrichemical multinationals, and equity funds lie just behind the scenes of AGRA’s show. Building new markets and market infrastructure for