Tag Archive: GM food aid

ACB condemnation for Comesa’s draconian free trade policy on GMOs

“The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has been handed a document of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)i titled ‘Draft Policy Statements and Guidelines for commercial plantings of GMOs, Trade in GMOs and Emergency Food aid with GMO content.” The Policy intends to undermine and displace more than a decade’s worth of international, regional and national biosafety policies and legislation by usurping the policy space of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Biosafety Protocol), regional policies on food aid and the sovereign rights of COMESA member states.

The Policy is due to be tabled at a COMESA meeting 12-17 July 2010 in Zambia.

According to ACB director Mariam Mayet “The Policy adopts an aggressive approach to the wholesale proliferation of GMOs on the African continent through a free trade agenda designed to create markets for commercial farmers in the US and South Africa.”

A small group of experts closely aligned to the biotechnology, seed and agrochemical industry, including those from South Africa has drafted the Policy behind closed doors. Stakeholders, particularly African small-scale farmers have been utterly excluded from the process, despite the fact that the Policy will have a major

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

Africa – The new frontier for the GE industry

The genetic engineering (GE) industry is facing a shrinking global market as more and more countries adopt biosafety laws and GE labeling regulations. Africa and Asia are the new frontiers for exploitation by the agro-chemical, seed and GE corporations. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) appears to be at the forefront of a US marketing campaign to introduce GE food into the developing world. It has made it clear that it sees its role as having to ‘integrate biotechnology into local food systems and spread the technology through regions in Africa‘. Through USAID, in collaboration with the GE industry and several groups involved in GE research in the developed world, the US government is funding various initiatives aimed at biosafety regulation and decision-making in Africa, which, if successful, may put in place weak biosafety regulation and oversight procedures. USAID is also heavily involved in funding various GE research projects in a bid to take control of African agricultural research.

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Contaminated US Rice Must Be Recalled From Africa

African Groups Condemn US Decision To Authorize Illegal GM Rice Sent To Africa

Lagos (Nigeria), Johannesburg (South Africa), 27 November. Friends of the Earth Africa and the African Center for Biosafety are today urging African countries to monitor US rice imports and to recall all shipments contaminated with GM rice known as LibertyLink601 (LL601). This call follows the confirmation of the presence of the illegal variety LL601 in food aid and commercial imports of rice from the US in Ghana and Sierra Leone.

?This rice is not approved in Africa and must be immediately recalled from our countries? said Nnimmo Bassey of FoE Africa. ?Africa will not accept being the dumping ground for unwanted GM rice. Our governments must stay firm and not fall under the US pressure to accept this tainted rice?.

The presence of illegal rice was verified in 9 samples of U.S. food aid and commercial imports after tests were conducted in an independent laboratory in the U.S. The unapproved GM rice has been detected in rice sent to Ghana and Sierra Leone and the results were publicly announced by FoE Africa in a simultaneous press conference in both countries in the morning of the 24th

African Agriculture under genetic engineering onslaught

Genetic engineering has made rapid entry into agriculture in the United States, Argentina, Canada, Brazil and South Africa, with these countries accounting for 99% of genetically modified (GM) crops grown globally. Now we are witnessing aggressive attempts, especially by the United States through its agency for international development (USAID) and its genetic engineering industry, to impose GM crops upon Africa under the guise of addressing food security, environmental stress and fighting poverty.

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GM Food aid: Africa denied choice once again?

Controversy over genetically modified (GM) food aid arose in 2000 in Latin America, and Asia, and exploded in 2002, when several southern African countries refused GM food aid during a food crisis. Now, in 2004 the controversy has erupted again after Sudan and Angola imposed restrictions over GM food aid. Food aid has been heavily criticized in the last fifty years, because it serves the interests of certain countries, particularly the US Government, as a tool to inter alia facilitate export surpluses and/or capture new markets. The use of GM food aid by the US has added a new dimension to the debate, because the provision of GM food aid is seen as providing an important back- door entry point for the introduction of genetically modified organism (GMOs) in developing countries.

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