Tag Archive: Monsanto

Call for Parliamentary hearing on GMOs

Call for urgent Parliamentary hearing on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and transparent review of risk assessment procedures and public participation in GMO decision making
Mr. Mlungisi Lulu Johnson
Chair: Portfolio Committee on Agriculture
Parliament of South Africa
e-mail: mjohnson@parliament.gov.za
23/07/2013

Dear Honourable Mr Johnson,

Recent events, such as the nationwide protests against Monsanto and consumer outrage over the presence of genetically modified (GM) ingredients in well-known brands of baby food, illustrate that the issue of GM food is of great concern to the people of South Africa. Much of this public anger was triggered by the decision, in May 2012, of GMO Executive Council (SA?s GMO regulatory body) to permit the importation of the Dow Chemical Company?s GM maize, dubbed ?agent orange maize?, engineered to tolerate herbicides based on the highly toxic chemical 2,4-D.

As a result of this decision, on the 7th of August 2012 the ACB, with support from the African Christian Democratic Party, submitted a petition to Parliament calling for the reversal of the Executive Council?s decision to approve Dow?s 2,4-D tolerant maize for import and for a review of the GMO decision making process in South Africa. The petition was supported by 18 health

STATEMENT BY CIVIL SOCIETY IN AFRICA

MODERNISING AFRICAN AGRICULTURE: WHO BENEFITS?

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STATEMENT BY CIVIL SOCIETY IN AFRICA
MODERNISING AFRICAN AGRICULTURE: WHO BENEFITS?

African agriculture is in need of support and investment. Many initiatives are flowing from the North, including the G8’s “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa” and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). These initiatives are framed in terms of the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). This gives them a cover of legitimacy.

But what is driving these investments, and who is set to benefit from them?

The current wave of investment emerges on the back of the gathering global crisis with financial, economic, food, energy and ecological dimensions. Africa is seen as underperforming and in control of valuable resources that capital seeks for profitable purposes. The World Bank and others tell us Africa has an abundance of available fertile land, and that Africa’s production structure is inefficient, based as it is on many small farms producing mainly for themselves and their neighbourhoodsi.

Africa is seen as a possible new frontier to make profits, with an eye on land, food and biofuels in particular. The recent investment wave must be understood

CIVIL SOCIETY PETITION TO TIGER BRANDS t/a PURITY

Outraged by the results of tests conducted by the ACB.
We, the undersigned members of civil society, are outraged by the ACB’s test results showing that Purity’s Cream of Maize tested positive as containing 56.25% GM maize; and Purity’s Purity Baby First tested positive as containing 71.47% GM maize.

We note with alarm, that this is not the first time that Purity’s Cream of Maize cereal tested positive for GM. In 2008, consumer watchdog SAFeAGE revealed the product to contain more than 24% GM maize.

We are deeply disappointed to learn that neither of these baby foods are labeled as containing products derived from genetically modified maize. We are of the view that Tiger Brands has acted disingenuously and deprived parents of crucial information about their baby’s nutrition. We do not want to eat GM food, much less feed our babies with GM cereals.

During September 2012, Professor Gilles-Eric S?ralini, and his research team at the University of Caen in France, published the results of a two-year animal feeding study in which rats fed with Monsanto’s herbicide tolerant GM maize, event NK603, and glyphosate residues, developed tumours and showed signs of liver and kidney damage.

GM Industry Called to Account: ISAAA’s report mischievous and erroneous

The Africa Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has dismissed the findings of the biotechnology industry’s flagship annual report, published by the GM industry funded ‘NGO’, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), as mischievous and erroneous.
According to the report, South Africa’s GM crop area increased by a record 26% or 600,000 hectares over the last 12 months. However, Mariam Mayet, director of the ACB points out: “The ISAAA in its desperate attempt to bolster the popularity of GM crops in the media, has overestimated the spread of GM crops in SA by a staggering 400%! According to the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), the combined maize and soybean cultivation in South Africa increased by less than 150,000 ha over the stated period and the area planted with GM cotton has declined by 3,000 ha.”

In fact South Africa has witnessed an increase in non-GM maize cultivation. Between the 2010/11 and 2011/12 growing seasons, the area of non GM maize cultivation increased by 38% (or 210,000 ha). “It is likely that the issue of insect pests developing resistance to the toxins produced by GM maize is a major factor behind this

Feeding the Dragon: Durban conference to promote massive GM soya push in Africa

Durban will host the 9th World Soybean Research Conference 17-22nd February 2013, sponsored by the Ethekwini Municipality and agrochemical corporations Monsanto, Syngenta and Dupont. The theme of the conference is ?From China to Africa ? Can research close the gap between soy production and increasing global demand.?

 

According to Mariam Mayet, Director of the African Centre for Biosafety, ?The World Soybean conference is really about the promotion of mono-cultures of genetically modified (GM) soya for global export markets. This is in keeping with the current trend of external investment in African agricultural land and resources for the production of commodities for other parts of the world, with the Chinese meat industry being a key driver.

In Africa, farms of less than 2 hectares account for 70-90% of farms in most African countries, and which produce the bulk of staple food crops1. The introduction of soya plantations will disrupt food production and supply systems and have serious implications for food security and livelihoods across the continent.?

China?s economic boom has profoundly impacted on the global food system. Its total meat consumption now stands at a whopping 71 million tons! Indeed, more than a quarter of all

African Civil Society Statement: Call for a ban on GMOs

Download the petition for a ban on GMOs to the African Union.

 

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We, the undersigned, members of civil society organisations from across the African continent, hereby call for an immediate and complete ban on the growing, importing and exporting of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the African continent.

We call upon the governments of Africa to take the necessary steps to protect the health of their populations by supporting this call and commit to conducting independent and authoritative long-term food safety studies.

We also call upon the governments of Africa to take note of our additional strong objections to GMOs. These concern the patenting of life forms and privatisation of agriculture, which has led to the dependence by farmers, rural communities and indigenous people on external private and monopolistic seeds suppliers. We are also extremely concerned about the adverse impact of industrial and GM based agriculture on biodiversity and climate change. We cannot ignore the suicide epidemic of farmers in India- a direct result of farmers’ dependence on GM cotton- and the resultant increased costs and unmanageable debt.
Scientific uncertainty about food safety
During September 2012, Professor Gilles-Eric S?ralini,

Objections to Monsanto’s application for spate of field trials with GM drought tolerant maize, September 2012

Field trials with MON 87460 are currently underway in South Africa at Hopetown, Orania, Pretoria, Lutzville and Delareyville.

These field trials form part of a larger initiative under the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project, a public-private partnership between African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF), Monsanto, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and the South African Agricultural Research Council (ARC). A combination of conventional breeding, marker-assisted breeding and transgenics are being used to develop maize with improved drought stress tolerance. WEMA also has partnerships with the national agricultural agencies of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique. According to the permit applications, “The goal of WEMA is to provide smallholder farmers in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa with access to water efficient transgenic maize hybrids, royalty free, enabling them to produce more reliable harvests”.

CONTENTS:

Introduction
Rational for this application
Status of approval of Monsanto‘s drought-tolerant maize in the USA
Our main concerns
The nature of drought resistance
Other approaches to drought
The mon87460 transgenic cassette
Lack of monitoring
Socio-economic impacts
Lack of biosafety capacity in South Africa
Conclusion
References

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ACB’s objection’s to Monsanto extended field trial application for drought tolerant maize

In 2007 Monsanto was granted a trial release permit to conduct field trials for its ‘drought tolerant’ maize event MON8746. These comments are in respect of a further extension application, submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in May 2011.

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South Africa’s Seed Systems: Challenges for food sovereignty

The African Centre for Biosafety and Trust for Community Outreach and Education, have the pleasure of sharing with you, our new study, which provides an overview of the structure of the seed system in South Africa, the types of seed in use and their pros and cons, the legislative and policy environment, and the role of the public sector in seed production and distribution in South Africa. It aims to identify the trends in the seed sector and consider possible points of intervention to advance the agenda of strengthening small-scale resource-poor farmers in control over and access to appropriate seed for seed sovereignty, which sits at the heart of food sovereignty.

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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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