Tag Archive: Orphan Crops

Africa to lose heritage crops to multinationals ‘donating’ GM technology

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), in a new report titled, “For your own good!” The chicanery behind GM non-commercial ‘orphan crops’ and rice for Africa shows that the GM industry is expanding its grasp to African traditional crops such as cassava, sorghum, sweet potato, pigeon pea, cowpea, banana as well as rice under the guise of philanthropy.

The report reveals that a great deal of research and development is currently underway into the genetic modification (GM) of these crops, with most of the on-going trials being focused on drought and salt tolerance, nitrogen use efficiency, resistance to tropical pests and diseases and nutritional enhancement (biofortification). The key countries that have been targeted include, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi.

The genesis of GM research in these crops can be found in royalty-free donations of various patented GM traits, by several multi-national companies (MNCs) including Monsanto, Dupont and Pioneer Hi-bred, to experimental programmes undertaken by African scientists employed by government ministries.

According to Mariam Mayet, Director of the ACB, “This indicates that the GM industry, under the veil of technology donations and public financing, is effectively managing to make further inroads into

The chicanery behind GM non-commercial ‘orphan crops’ and rice for Africa

This paper focuses on research and development (R&D) relevant to non-commercial so-called ‘orphan crops’ in Africa—cassava, sorghum, sweet potato, pigeon pea and millet —as well as one commercial crop, rice. This paper should be read in conjunction with work already produced on GM banana (Schnurr, 2014) and GM cowpea (ACB, 2015). These non- commercial crops as well as rice are mainly carbohydrate crops that constitute staple food for African populations. The intention of this paper is to place information and new knowledge in the public domain.

Download the Report