Tag Archive: Canada

RELIEF AS MONSANTO ABANDONS GM CANOLA IN SOUTH AFRICA

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) is relieved to learn that Monsanto has withdrawn its application to conduct GM canola field trails in South Africa.

GM Canola is predominantly grown in the USA, Canada and Australia. The global market for GM canola, used principally for cooking oils and animal feed, is estimated to be worth $300 million.

The ACB objected to Monsanto‘s field trial application in September 2009 when the ACB raised serious concerns that the field trials would pose unacceptable environmental risks, including gene flow into wild populations. The South African biosafety authorities were of a similar opinion, and twice requested that Monsanto provide additional biosafety information. Monsanto‘s decision to withdraw its application clearly indicates it could not provide sufficient safety assurances.

A recent study by the University of Arkansas in the US corroborates these fears. In North Dakota, (a large GM canola growing area), 80% of the wild canola plants studied have developed herbicide resistance by crossing with GM varieties. Studies in both Canada and Japan have come to similar conclusions. Although GM Canola is not grown in Japan, transgenic oil seed rape, a close relative of canola was found in areas

ACB’s objection to Monsanto’s commodity clearance application for Smartstax

In the 20th of April the Business Day newspaper carried a public notice of Monsanto‘s application to the South African GMO registrar for permission to import Smartstax maize, arguably the world’s most controversial and risky commercially grown GMO. While the majority of commercially grown genetically engineered crops contain at most 3 foreign genes, Smartstax contains eight, 6 of which are for insect resistance and a further 2 for resistance to chemical herbicides. Smartstax was granted approval in the US and Canada on the basis that the parent GM maize lines that were cross bred to create it were previously classified as safe, meaning that Smartstax has not even been subject to proper risk assessment! Several prominent biosafety experts at the United Nations have already expressed their dismay at this assumption of safety, while the issue of stacked GMOs is set to be a major area of contention at the upcoming Convention on Biodiversity meeting in Japan later this year. Having viewed Monsanto‘s application (in accordance with our constitutional rights), the African Centre for Biosafety has written to the GMO registrar expressing our grave concerns over several risks we were able to identify from the limited information

Force-feeding South Africans: Monsanto’s Smartstax 8 gene GM maize coming to a store near you!

Johannesburg 21 April 2010. Monsanto has made an application to the South African GMO authorities for permission to import Smartstax maize, one of the most controversial and risky GMOs ever produced for commercial use.

The ACB recently published a report featuring Smartstax titled ‘The stacked gene revolution: A biosafety nightmare’. We pointed out that while the majority of commercially cultivated GM food crops contain 3 new genes at most, Smartstax contains 8! Several prominent scientists at the United Nations have expressed grave concerns about the biosafety implications of this, and also the lax safety assessments carried out. Smartstax has been approved in the US and Canada for commercial cultivation.

According to Mariam Mayet, Director of the ACB, ?Stacked GMOs represent the biotech industry’s blitzkrieg for increased control of the food chain. The more genes ‘stacked’ into their seeds, the higher their profits.? One and two trait GM seed varieties are being replaced by their more expensive multiple stacked varieties.

In November last year, Monsanto chairman Hugh Grant hubristically claimed that he expected the gene giant to triple its 2007 gross profits by 2012. Smartstax was to be one of the cornerstone’s of this expansion. However, Monsanto is

DISPLACING AFRICA’S INDIGENOUS FOOD: Monsanto & AATF’s GM Cowpea Project

Nairobi based African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and Monsanto are set to introduce genetically engineered cowpeas in the coming years into the fields and tables of Africa. It will use Nigeria and Burkina Faso as key entry points, with Ghana, Cameroon, Niger and Mali comprising the second tier of countries that will be targeted. The project is assisted by Nigeria- based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), one of the 15 agricultural research institutes of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The CGIAR is funded primarily by the World Bank, the USA, Japan, the European Union and Canada. Indeed, the IITA has the mandate for cowpea research and is in the forefront of breeding high yielding varieties by using a range of genetic manipulation techniques to deal with biological constraints affecting crop yields and quality.

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Malawi – GMO Legislation

OVERVIEW

The government of Malawi published its biosafety draft regulations in The Malawi Gazette Supplement on the 13th September 2002 (“biosafety law”) at the height of the GM food aid controversy when several countries in Southern Africa imposed restrictions on the acceptance of genetically modified food aid from the United States. Malawi accepted the GM food aid, with few restrictions being imposed. At the time of writing, the writer obtained conflicting information as to whether the draft law had been promulgated. However, the writer was able to ascertain that the biosafety law, represents the current biosafety framework.

Malawi is not yet a Party to the United Nation’s Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (“Biosafety Protocol“), nor is it amongst the 123 developing countries participating in the UNEP-GEF Biosafety Capacity Building project. It was however, one of 7 “core target” countries in Southern Africa that participated in a USAID funded biosafety capacity building project, the Southern Africa Regional Biotechnology Program (SARB)”.

SARB is a sub-project of a larger United States Assistance for International Development (USAID) project, managed by the Michigan State University, Agricultural Biotechnology Support Program (ABSP). ABSP’s private sector partners include, Asgrow, Monsanto Co. Garst See Company