Tag Archive: Monsanto

Acquisition of Africa?s SeedCo by Monsanto, Groupe Limagrain: Neo-colonial occupation of Africa?s seed systems

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) is deeply concerned about the recent acquisitions by multi-national seed companies of large parts of SeedCo, one of Africa?s largest home-grown seed companies. Attracting foreign investment from the world?s largest seed companies, most of who got to their current dominant positions by devouring national seed companies and their competitors through mergers and acquisitions, is an inevitable consequence of the fierce drive to commercialise agriculture in Africa.

The deals in question involve French seed giant Groupe Limagrain, the largest seed and plant breeding company in the European Union, who has invested up to US$60 million for a 28% stake in SeedCo. In another transaction, SeedCo has agreed to sell 49% of its shares in Africa?s only cottonseed company, Quton, to Mahyco of India. Mahyco is 26% owned by Monsanto and has 50:50 joint venture with the gene-giant to sub-license its genetically modified (GM) bt cotton traits throughout India. Interestingly, Mahyco also specialises in hybrid cotton varieties, unlike Quton, who also produces open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) of cottonseed.

These acquisitions follow close on the heels of Swiss biotech giant Syngenta?s take-over in 2013 of Zambian seed company MRI Seed, whose maize germplasm collection was said

Resources transferred from small-scale farmers to multinational agribusinesses in Malawi’s Green Revolution

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today released its research report based on field work conducted in Malawi, titled “Running to stand still: Small-scale farmers and the Green Revolution in Malawi.” The research, conducted by the ACB in collaboration with the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM), Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology and Dr Blessings Chinsinga from the University of Malawi, does not validate the argument that Malawi is a Green Revolution success story. On the contrary, the research highlights the plight of small-scale farmers at the receiving end of the Green Revolution (GR) push in Malawi. Among its findings are that farmers are trapped in a cycle of debt and dependency on costly external inputs with limited long-term benefit, and that the natural resource base is being degraded and eroded despite ? or perhaps because of – GR inputs.

According to ACB’s lead researcher, Dr Stephen Greenberg, “our research found that small-scale farmers are using shockingly high levels of synthetic fertilisers at great financial costs to themselves and the public purse. Rising soil infertility is a feature of farming systems reliant on synthetic fertiliser. We found that farmers are increasingly adopting hybrid maize seed, encouraged by

Running to Stand Still: Small-Scale Farmers and the Green Revolution in Malawi

According to ACB?s lead researcher, Dr Stephen Greenberg, ?our research found that small-scale farmers are using shockingly high levels ofsynthetic fertilisers at great financial costs to themselves and the publicpurse. Rising soil infertility is a feature of farming systems reliant on synthetic fertiliser. We found that farmers are increasingly adopting hybrid maize seed, encouraged by government subsidies and the promise of massive yields. However, adoption of these hybrid seeds comes at the cost of abandoning diversity and resilience of local seed varieties, and the ever escalating requirement for synthetic fertilisers. Indeed, our findings show net transfers away from farming households to agribusinesses such as SeedCo, Pannar (recentlymerged with Pioneer Hi-Bred), Monsanto and Demeter in the commercial seed industry. For fertiliser, the major fertiliser producers and distributors are Farmers World (which also owns Demeter seed), Yara, TansGlobe, Omnia and Rab Processors.?

Executive summary

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Full Report

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Press Release

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The Consumers Have a Right to say NO! NO GMO in our Bread

Dear
CEO Pick n Pay Mr Richard Brasher
CEO Spar Mr Wayne Hook
CEO Shoprite/Checkers Dr. Whitey Basson
CEO Woolworths Mr Ian Moir
CEO Tiger Brands Mr Peter Matlare
CEO Premier Foods Mr Tjaart Kruger
MD FoodCorp MD Mr CB Sampson

We, the undersigned members of the public, are outraged to learn that our daily bread is contaminated with Genetically Modified (GM) soya. We have learnt that the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) recently submitted samples of white bread brands sold in supermarkets across South Africa, to a GMO testing facility, which found the levels of GM soya in the soya flour used in the bread to be extremely high.

 

The test results are as follow:

White bread brand GM content in soya flour Produced by Labelled as
Checkers white bread 91.09% Shoprite Holdings No GM label. (No ingredients labelled)
Woolworths white bread 85.62% Woolworths May be Genetically Modified
Spar white bread 72.69% Spar No GM label. (No ingredients labelled)
Blue Ribbon white bread 64.9% Premier Foods Not labelled
Pick n Pay white bread 42.82% Pick n Pay Not labelled
Albany superior white bread 23.23% Tiger Brands Not labelled
Sunbake white bread 20.46% Foodcorp Not labelled

We are further

MONSANTO FORCED TO WITHDRAW UNSUBSTANTIATED ADVERTISING CLAIMS ON BENEFITS OF GM CROPS-ADVERTISING STANDARDS AUTHORITY OF SOUTH AFRICA

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of South Africa has today ordered Monsanto to withdraw its advertisement on Radio 702 with immediate effect, wherein Monsanto claims the benefits of GM crops. According to ASA, Monsanto?s claims were found to be unsubstantiated. ? The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) lodged a complaint to the ASA following an advertisement on Radio 702 by Monsanto wherein Monsanto claims that GM crops ?enable us to produce more food sustainably whilst using fewer resources; provide a healthier environment by saving on pesticides; decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase crop yields substantially.? The ACB was supported in its complaint by Ms Judith Taylor from Earthlife Africa. ? Monsanto was given an opportunity by ASA to respond to the ACB?s complaint but was according to the ASA, only able to provide the ASA with links to documents on its website but was unable to provide, as it is required to in terms of South African law governing advertising, inputs from an independent and credible expert confirming the various studies that Monsanto relied upon showing the ostensible benefits of GM crops. ? ?We are elated with this decision. Monsanto has already been warned by the ASA as far back

Ruling of the ASA Directorate

In the matter between:

Mariam Mayet on behalf of the African Centre for Biosafety – First Complainant

Judith Taylor – Second Complainant

and

Monsanto South Africa (Pty) Ltd. – Respondant

Consumer complaints were lodged against a radio commercial for Monsanto genetically modified crops, the live-read states as follows:
8 billion people by 2025. How will er feed them all? GM crops enable us to produce more food sustainably whilst using fewer resources. GM crops and food are strictly regulated and have been extensively researched and tersted for safety. GM crops provide a healthier environment by saving on pesticides and decreasng greenhouse gas emissions whilst increasing crop yields substantially. Read more about the safety and benfits of GM crops at www.monsanto.com.
During the hearing the ASA ruled:
Aside from submitting links to documents on its website, the respondent has submitted nothing from an independent and credible expert to confirm that the various studies relied on and referred to on its website are applicable to the respondent’s product, or that they support the advertising claims.

SA-advertising-standards-Monsanto-2014

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Objection to Monsanto’s application for commodity clearance for MON 89034 x MON 88017

This submission by Monsanto makes a joke of biosafety risk assessment in that it is not based on the actual event under consideration, but rather, the applicant posits claim of lack of harm, toxicity, and allergenicity based on data carried out on other lines containing the same transgene/event. This violates the case by case approach to GMO risk assessment enshrined in the GMO Act 1997. It also lacks sufficient scientific data to support claims of safety and this is exacerbated by lack of peer reviewed information on this event. In addition, the applicant has not considered the health impacts of the herbicide to which this event is engineered to tolerate. Furthermore, approval of this commodity import is likely to significantly impact upon commercial and emerging maize producers, and could have further impacts along the value chain. There are other issues affecting animal feed producers and consumers (the continuation of cheap chicken imports from the EU, for example), the resolution of which would do more to strengthen South Africa?s agricultural sector. It is the opinion of the ACB that this application should be rejected on both biosafety and socio-economic grounds.

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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.

Civil Society Calls for PUBLIC Parliamentary Hearings on Genetically Modified Food

On the 6th of August 2012, the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), supported by 18 health professionals, more than 7000 individuals, 22 organisations and the Honourable Cheryllyn Dudley of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), submitted a petition to the National Assembly. The petition called for a review of the government decision to allow the import of “agent orange” maize, a review of GMO risk assessment procedures and an open, public hearing on GMOs.

Over the past year, those who signed this petition have repeatedly called on the ACB for progress on this issue. Since we have had no response from government we opened up the signatures again and prepared this follow-up text to be handed in to Parliament on the 13th September 2013, together with new signatures, now totaling 10 000.

We have noted with great concern that the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ briefing on the 13th September 2013 on GM food in South Africa only includes presentations from government departments and excludes representatives from civil society, health professionals and scientists.

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