The ACB is committed to dismantling inequalities in the food and agriculture systems in Africa and the promotion of agro-ecology and food sovereignty.

Regulatory Implications of New Breeding Techniques

This paper presents an evidence-based critique of the Report published by the Academy of Science South Africa (ASSAf) titled ‘Regulatory Implications of New Breeding Techniques’ (the Report). Our critique discusses the pro-GM propaganda contained in the Report and contrasts it with a well-established scientific body of concerns surrounding the use of these so-called new breeding techniques (NBTs), and their potential to exacerbate further the deepening ecological and social crises in South Africa.

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Food Systems of the Future Public Talk

The ACB in partnership with Wits Inala Forum had the honour of hosting Mr Pat Mooney, Ms Donna Andrews, Mr John Nzira and Mr Stephen Greenberg at a public talk at Wits University on the 12th of May 2017, in the light of the three mega mergers taking place. The title of the talk was “Food Systems of the Future: mega mergers, big data, synthetic biology and food sovereignty. “Here are four short videos of the public talks:

Pat Mooney
John Nzira + Donna Andrews

Stephen Greenberg

Group Discussion

Group Discussion continued.

The GM maize onslaught in Mozambique: Undermining biosafety and smallholder farmers

A new report from the ACB, “The GM maize onslaught in Mozambique: Undermining biosafety and smallholder farmers” written in conjunction with Acção Academicapara o Desenvolvimento das Comunidades Rurais (ADECRU) has been released today. It provides an analysis of the changes made to Mozambique’s biosafety legislation in order to allow for field trials of genetically modified (GM) maize to take place under the auspices of the Monsanto/Gates Foundation’s Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project. The WEMA project is currently pushing forward with field trials involving the highly controversial GM drought tolerant maize variety and old throw away Bt maize, MON810 that has caused massive pest infestation in SA.

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Alert GM Imports

In this Alert, the ACB explains how South Africa, through various grain traders, imported GM maize from the US, Argentina and Brazil during Jan-April 2017 due to the drought that hit parts of Southern Africa. It also shows how GM maize is then exported out of South Africa to Swaziland and Zimbabwe and there pushing up prices of maize and contaminating local GM varieties-aside from the biosafety risks the GM maize poses to consumers in all three countries..

Alert GM Imports download .pdf

South Africa and 2,4 D stacked GM maize: biosafety, socio-economic risks

In 2015–2016 Dow AgroSciences Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd performed field trials on maize tolerant to 2,4-D (event DAS-87078-9) and stacked varieties carrying not only 2,4-D tolerance, but also glyphosate tolerance and/or Bt insectidal toxins. The trials are on going in 2017. The trials follow the approval for import for food, feed and processing in 2012, despite the crop not having been approved anywhere in the world for cultivation and public outcry in SA.

This paper reports on the global failings of GM crops to date to do their stated job: to control weeds and pests, reduce environmental burden of toxic pesticides and improve farmer costs.

In 2015–2016 Dow AgroSciences Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd performed field trials on maize tolerant to 2,4-D (event DAS-87078-9) and stacked varieties carrying not only 2,4-D tolerance, but also glyphosate tolerance and/or Bt insectidal toxins. The trials are on going in 2017. The trials follow the approval for import for food, feed and processing in 2012, despite the crop not having been approved anywhere in the world for cultivation and public outcry in SA.

This paper reports on the global failings of GM crops to date to do their stated job: to control weeds and pests,

War Chemical 2,4 D GM maize in SA: in the fields and coming to our plates soon

Press Release from the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE) and the Commercial & the Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU)

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has published a briefing paper today titled, ‘South Africa and 2,4 D GM maize: Biosafety, Socio economic risk’, exposing ongoing risky technological developments with South Africa’s staple food – maize. It exposes that plans are underfoot to commercially grow genetically modified (GM) maize resistant to the war chemical, 2, D (event DAS-4Ø278-9). According to the briefing, US chemical giant Dow Agrosciences who is merging with another US chemical giant Dupont, has been conducting field trials of 2,4 D GM maize in SA since 2015 and which trials are still underway. These field trials involve GM maize tolerant to 2,4-D and the 2,4-D tolerant trait stacked with the glyphosate tolerant and/or Bt. insecticidal toxins. They follow the approval by the South African GMO authorities of 2,4 D GM maize in 2012 for import as food, feed and processing, despite extensive public outcry and it not being grown anywhere in the world commercially.
The ACB’s report points to numerous worrying shortcomings in Dow’s scientific

South Africa’s Competition Commission gives conditional approval for Bayer-Monsanto merger

In December 2016 Monsanto shareholders voted in favour of the sale of the company to Bayer for US$66 billion, making it the largest-ever foreign corporate takeover by a German company.

The deal requires approval from about 30 regulatory agencies around the world. The Competition Commission of South Africa (CCSA) was the first to be officially notified of this global transaction on 1 February 2017, and conditionally approved the transaction on 3 May 2017 and made it public on the 8th May 2017. Other competition authorities elsewhere have been or will be notified.

Both Bayer and Monsanto are major global manufacturers of agrochemicals and seeds, including genetically modified (GM) seed. The merged entity will be the world’s largest supplier by sales of both seeds and pesticides, controlling up to 30 percent of the world’s commercial seed markets and 24 percent of the world’s pesticide markets. Bayer and Monsanto are major actors in South Africa’s seed and agrochemical industries.

The ACB made submissions to the Competition Commission of South Africa (CCSA) urging it to consider the wider implications of these mergers beyond a narrow view of competition in segmented product markets. These include the entrenchment of the dominant technological platform in agricultural

Profits, power and myth making: Monsanto’s ‘bogus’ GM drought tolerant maize challenged in South Africa’s High Court

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has lodged an appeal to the High Court of South Africa to overturn decisions of the GMO authority, the GMO Appeal Board and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, to commercialise Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) drought tolerant (DT) maize seed. More than 25 000 concerned citizens have signed petitions and submitted objections in support yet the South African government ignores the pleas of its people.

The appeal raises a number of irregularities with the decision-making processes, which ACB argues flout South Africa’s Constitution and laws prescribing administrative justice and procedural fairness. ACB is alleging mere rubbing stamping of Monsanto’s claims that its patented GM DT trait (MON 87460) confers drought tolerance. Monsanto’s claims of drought tolerance are disputed based on sound science; a single gene (cspB) does not confer efficacious drought tolerance and is yet another risky and novel gene introduced into the staple food of millions of people in South Africa in the name of corporate profits.

The ACB and various organisations and members of the public have since 2008, resisted Monsanto’s unproven claimed benefits of drought tolerance. The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project has specifically come under close scrutiny.

Objection to commercial release of MON87460 X NK603 X MON89034 (triple stacked involving drought tolerant maize trait)

In this objection, ACB raises numerous concerns with the application by Monsanto for the commercial release of the triple stacked event.

Drought tolerance is a highly complex genetic trait that cannot be addressed by single gene insertions, as shown by the lack of data backing up the applicant’s claim that this GM variety shows “improvements to yield under drought stress”. n 2016, the ACB also submitted an objectionto the extension of field trials, supported by a petition with over 20 00 signatures. In addition, 63 members of the public copied the objections they have submitted to the Registrar: GMO Act regarding these trials. Members of the public have similarly in respect to this application, signed a petition opposing these trials as well as 71 having submitted direct objections to the Registrar: GMO Act.

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Mega-mergers: 3 giant corporations controlling South Africa’s food and farming systems

This briefing deals with the three mega mergers taking place in the agriculture sector as Dow Chemical and DuPont are set to merge, China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) is to acquire Syngenta and Bayer is to acquire Monsanto. The proposed Bayer-Monsanto merger will give control of almost 30% of the world’s commercial seed market and almost 25% of the world’s commercial pesticide and herbicide (agrochemical) markets to just one company. These mergers expand and intensify an extractivist economic model that will deepen inequalities and our current ecological, political and social crises. They also reveal an insidious and deep penetration of food production systems by finance capital such as Blackrock and the Vanguard Group.

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