Tag Archive: grain trade

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

Hazardous Harvest: Genetically Modified Crops in South Africa: 2008-2012

In this publication, we provide a comprehensive update of the situation with GMOs in SA. Since our last South African update on genetically modified crops, and the transnational companies that control the technology published in 2008, GMOs have become even more entrenched in the country’s agricultural landscape. Over three quarters of South Africa’s maize is now GM, Roundup Ready soybean cultivation has increased nearly fourfold. If Pioneer Hi-Bred’s acquisition of Pannar seed is accepted, we are about to relinquish all control over our seed system to two US multinational corporations. During 2010 and 2011, nearly 6 million tons of GM maize was exported to destinations in Africa and Mexico, the centre of origin of maize.

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Bad News!! SA approves GM rice, barrage of new GM maize varieties for import

The South African GMO authorities have approved Bayer CropScience’s GM rice, Event LL62 for import into South Africa. LL62 has also been approved for commercial growing in the United States and for import into Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

South Africa is a net importer of several varieties of rice, which it imports from around the world. It also re-exports rice to a large number of African countries. During the 2009/10 marketing year, SA‘s rice imports increased by 35% to 788, 104 tons. Although around 70% of SA‘s rice is currently imported from Thailand but SA does import rice from the US.

Rice is the staple food for half the world’s population and provides more calories than any other single food, about 90% from carbohydrates and 10% from protein. Bayer’s application before the SA authorities was for the import of GM rice grain for food and feed use with parboiled milled rice being the main rice commodity to be imported. The rice has been genetically engineered to confer resistance to glufosinate ammonium.

The African Centre for Biosafety, (ACB) supported by a large number of groups and individuals objected to the approval of

Corporate concentration and control in the grains and oilseed value chain in South Africa: A case study of the Bunge/Senwes joint venture

The Bunge/Senwes joint venture signals the first significant investment by Bunge in Africa. Bunge is one of the world’s largest and most influential corporations and is amongst a handful of companies dominating global trade in agricultural commodities. Senwes holds a dominant position in the South African market for the storage and handling of grain crops. In this briefing, we provide inter alia:

  • A breakdown of the value chains of the various grains and oilseeds that the joint venture will focus upon, with particular attention being paid to the storage and handling of these crops;
  • Information on South Africa’s three largest grain storage companies;
  • A summary of the merger and acquisition activity in the agribusiness sector, including areas of strategic convergence such as poultry production and grain storage and trading; and
  • Our major concerns with the joint venture and the imbalances and inequities in the food system that it entrenches.
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Global Grain Giant Bunge, to enter SA market!

The Competition Commission has on 2nd September 2011, approved, with conditions, a joint venture between the multinational grain trader Bunge, and South African grain storage and trading company, Senwes.

In terms of the joint venture, a separate legal entity, Bunge Senwes Proprietary Ltd, has been formed, with each party controlling 50%.

According to Mariam Mayet of the ACB, ?the joint venture marks Bunge’s first significant investment in Africa and places both players in a powerful position in an already concentrated market.?

The ACB made written submissions to the Competition Commission with regard to the joint venture, and raised concerns about the impact such a large corporation such as Bunge would have on South Africa‘s agricultural sector.

Bunge is one of the so-called ‘ABCD’ group of grain traders, along with Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), and Louis Dreyfus. The ABCD group contains some of the largest, most secretive and influential corporations in the world. In 2008, with hundreds of millions of people driven to hunger by the dramatic food price rises, the profits of these corporations soared. As the global economy continues to stagger from one crisis to the next, food prices are again sky-rocketing.

In 2010, Bunge’s revenues

The Gates Foundation and Cargill push Soya onto Africa

Cape Town – The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is to grant US$8 million to develop a soya value chain in Africa, in partnership with US non-profit organisation TechnoServe and agricultural commodity trading giant Cargill. The announcement was made at the Soy Innovation Africa Conference held in Cape Town 26th and 27th August 2010.

The project is meant to run for four years, commencing initially in Mozambique and Zambia where it is aimed at 37 000 small-scale farmers. The model will be replicated in other regions at a later time.

The ACB has released a report titled “The Gates Foundation and Cargill push Soya onto Africa” wherein it argues that the Gates project is aimed at enabling commodities giant, Cargill, to capture a hitherto untapped African soya market and eventually introduce GM soya onto the continent where reception to GMOs remains chilly.

Soya is sought after by the rapidly expanding global livestock and agrofuels sectors. Currently Africa produces less than 1% of global soya, while the USA, Brazil and Argentina dominate the market. Cargill is the biggest global player in the production and trade in soya, with heavy investments in Latin America where genetically modified (GM)

The dirty politics of the global grain trade – GM maize farmers face ruin in SA

Recently, the South African press reported on the possible bankruptcy faced by maize farmers. The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today released a new report titled “The dirty politics of the global grain trade – GM maize farmers face ruin in SA” which provides an analysis of why South Africa’s record 13 million ton harvest of maize, at least half of which is GM, has threatened financial ruin for up to 30% of its maize farmers. The paper addresses the following issues: the political economy of maize in South Africa; new GM markets for South Africa; the real beneficiaries of the maize mountains; and regulatory issues, including the extent to which South Africa’s GMO permit system contributes towards speculation in the GM maize trade and the price of food. The paper can be found on the website of the ACB at www.acbio.org.za

South Africa’s maize farmers recorded a bumper harvest in 2010, yet now they face ruin. The price of maize has fallen precipitously in the last 12 months owing to a crisis of over-production of both GM and non-GM maize. A mass exodus from the maize sector is anticipated, with as many as 30% of farmers

Soya – Gates Foundation & Cargill Paper

The SOYA MODEL implies a war against the population, the emptying of the countryside,
and the elimination of our collective memory in order to shoehorn people into towns
and convert them into faithful consumers of whatever the market provides.
The impacts of this model go beyond the borders of the new Soya Republics.
The dehumanisation of agriculture and the depopulation
of rural areas for the benefit of the corporations is
increasing in the North and in the South.
Javiera Ruli in United Soya Republics. The Truth about Soya Production in Latin America
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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a new project to develop the soya value chain in Africa in partnership with American NGO, TechnoServe and agricultural commodity trading giant Cargill. The US$8 million project will be implemented as a four year pilot in Mozambique and Zambia with the intention of spreading the model to other regions in the future.

The Gates Foundation continues to back agricultural strategies that open new markets for strong corporate interests while assisting in the creation of policy environments to support foreign agribusiness‘ interests. The programme will yoke African farmers into the soya

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