Tag Archive: CSIR

African heritage crops threatened by South African GMO decision

Johannesburg – An Appeal Board established by the Minister of Land Affairs and Agriculture has overturned a landmark decision by a South African GMO authority on 15 June 2006, to refuse the experimentation of sorghum, a prized African heritage crop. The Council for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR), has now been given the go-ahead to proceed with the development of ‘Super Sorghum’ in a containment level three facility. The research is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation‘s African Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) project. The Gates Foundation is also heavily funding the ‘New Green Revolution for Africa‘, aimed at industrialising African agriculture.

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), which objected to the initial application by the CSIR, has condemned the decision, stating that experimentation with GM sorghum will inevitably result in the contamination of Africa‘s prized sorghum heritage. Haidee Swanby of the African Centre for Biosafety, comments: ‘Sorghum is a key staple crop for over 500 million people on the continent. The risks posed by GM sorghum to wild and weedy relatives cannot be tolerated at all and the granting of this permit is tantamount to a licence to taint Africa’s heritage.’

The ACB points

Sorghum trials permitted, 12 September 2008

AFRICAN HERITAGE CROPS THREATENED BY SOUTH AFRICA GMO DECISION

Friday, 12 September 2008

Johannesburg An Appeal Board established by the Minister of Land Affairs and Agriculture has overturned a landmark decision by a South African GMO authority on 15 June 2006, to refuse the experimentation of sorghum, a prized African heritage crop. The Council for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR), has now been given the go ahead to proceed with the development of ?Super Sorghum? in a containment level three facility. The research is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation‘s African Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) project. The Gates Foundation is also heavily funding the ?New Green Revolution for Africa?, aimed at industrialising African agriculture.

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) who has objected to the initial application by the CSIR, has condemned the decision, stating that experimentation with GM sorghum will inevitably result in the contamination of Africa‘s prized sorghum heritage. Haidee Swanby of the African Centre for Biosafety said ?sorghum is a key staple crop for over 500 million people on the continent. The risks posed by GM sorghum to wild and weedy relatives cannot be tolerated at all and the granting of permit

Desperate Appeal Against Rejection of Gates Foundations’ GM Sorghum Experiments

Desperate Appeal Against Rejection of Gates Foundations’ GM Sorghum Experiments

GRAIN SA, representing commercial farmers in South Africa, is feverishly drumming up support for the appeal by the Council for Scientific and
Industrial Research (CSIR) against the rejection of its GM sorghum application.

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Africa’s Sorghum Saved: Applause for Second GM Sorghum Rejection

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) hails the decision taken by the Executive Council (EC)-South Africa‘s GM regulatory body on the 30 January 2007 to turn down an application by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) to conduct experiments with genetically modified (GM) sorghum in a level three containment facility. This decision was taken against the backdrop that Africa is the centre of origin for sorghum where (including in South Africa), a large number of sexually compatible weeds, wild relatives strains and races of cultivated sorghum occur.

While the EC will make its reasons for the rejection available in due course, it previously (in June 2006) turned down a similar application when it cited environmental concerns about gene flow from transgenic sorghum to South Africa’s biodiversity.

The ACB lodged an objection to the application and raised strong concerns that GM sorghum would introgress into wild relatives. “Some activities just cannot be permitted and should be regarded as NO GO options” said Mariam Mayet, founder of the ACB.

?The risks posed by GM sorghum to sorghum wild and weedy relatives cannot be tolerated at all and the granting of a permit

Objections to CSIR’s Application for Contained Use Permit for GM Sorghum

Sorghum, a grass of east African origin, is said to have present as early as 8000 years ago. The timing of the emergence of the domesticated sorghum, Sorghum bicolor from the wild species progenitor is disputed with dates ranging from 3700-4900 years ago to not much
before 2000 years ago. i Four main groups can be identified within the sorghum family: grain sorghums such as milo, grass sorghums cultivated for pasture and hay, sweet sorghums (also known as Guinea corn) used in the production of sorghum syrups and broomcorn (for brooms and brushes). i Sorghum was introduced into the western hemisphere in the early sixteenth century, and is now an important crop in the United States and Mexico.

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The status of Genetically Modified (GM) pharmaceutical crop research in South Africa

Genetically modified (GM) pharmaceutical crops are crops which have been genetically engineered / modified to produce pharmaceuticals. These pharmaceuticals can be vaccines, anti-bodies or therapeutic proteins. Pharma-crops (as they are known) are a contested and little-known terrain, with remarkable benefits beingclaimed for them in South Africa. Other voices ask about the contamination of the food supply and the environment, and the social costs of this technology. Following our own research into on the issue the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) contends that further research is needed into potential risks to human health and the food chain, and that the outcomes of this need to be kept in the public domain.

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