South Africa

South Africa

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.

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,

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

Against the odds, smallholder farmers maintain agricultural biodiversity in South Africa

This report is a result of research conducted in partnership with Tshintsha Amakhaya, Farmer Support Group, TCOE Zingisa and Surplus People Project. The report investigates the state of farmer-managed seed systems in rural South Africa.

Through 3 case studies in Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the report highlights both the fragility and perseverance of smallholder farmers, who continue to maintain agricultural biodiversity and traditional knowledge, in the face of increasing pressure from all sides. Smallholder farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to make end meet in an agricultural sector dominated by large-scale commercial production and corporate value chains.

Multinational corporations dominate seed provision in South Africa, further driving a commercial and industrial Green Revolution agenda. Farmer-managed seed systems, and the diversity of crops and diets that rely on them, are marginalised and neglected in the process.
The research is one step in highlighting the threats and opportunities facing smallholders and biodiversity in an increasingly harsh production environment. ACB will continue working with our partners and smallholder farmers to support and promote sustainable farming practices and farmer-managed seed systems as part of our broader objectives to transform seed and food systems in South Africa.

Download full report in PDF format

Standing up for farmer-saved seeds, agrobiodiversity and seed sovereignty! ACB commenting on revised seed laws in South Africa

ACB submitted comments on the Plant Breeders’ Rights and Plant Improvement Bills, to the Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources on the 24th January 2017.

These bills restrict the saving, trading, exchanging, and sale of seed. This can have massive ramifications on seed and food sovereignty, agricultural biodiversity, access to diverse seed, and increasing the disparities and inequalities in South African agriculture, food and nutrition.

ACB will continue to engage in this process to ensure that South African seed laws take into account farmer-managed seed systems, agrobiodiversity, and maintain farmer’s rights to save, reuse, exchange, and sell seed.

We invite interested parties to join this conversation, to fight for our right to seed.

 

Download the ACB Comments on the PBR Bill in pdf

Download the ACB Comments on the PIA Bill in pdf

New Lobby document from ACB: transitioning out of GM maize in SA

This Four-page document summarises the recent report published by the African Centre for Biodiversity: Transitioning out of GM maize: to agroecology for sustainable, socially just and nutritional food systems, that argues that we need to urgently shift away from the mono-focus on a maize towards embracing a diversity of crops – particularly indigenous African summer grain crops such as sorghum and millet – and diverse agricultural practices that support healthy ecosystems, economies and societies

This is the first set of easily-to-read and share material, and is available in 5 languages: English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa and Sesotho.

Afrikaans | English | isi-Xhosa | isi-Zulu | Sesotho

The full report (English) is available here.

World Food Day – South Africa faces drought, rising food prices and false promises of GMOs

To cope with drought and rising food prices, we need to urgently move away from genetically modified food and towards indigenous African crops. So warns the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).
“We need to urgently shift away from maize towards embracing a diversity of crops – particularly indigenous African summer grain crops such as sorghum and millet – and agro ecology,” says ACB director, Mariam Mayet.
Coinciding with World Food Day, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), has released an important report. It is called “Transitioning out of GM maize: towards nutrition security, climate adaptation, agro-ecology and social justice.”
It makes a compelling case for South Africa to urgently transition out of GM maize production, to systems that are socially just, ecologically sustainable and provide nutrition security for a rapidly urbanising population in the face of the current crippling drought.
According to Mariam Mayet, Director of the ACB, “South Africa is at a crossroads: either it must abandon Monsanto’s GM maize including its bogus drought tolerant GM maize seed or face an economic, social and ecological crisis.”
The report shows that the current maize production system is unsustainable for a number of ecological and economic reasons:
Over-reliance on genetically modified

Transitioning out of GM maize: Current drought is an opportunity for a more resilient and just food system

Coinciding with World Food Day, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), in a new report titled “Transitioning out of GM maize: towards nutrition security, climate adaptation, agro-ecology and social justice” makes a compelling case for South Africa to urgently transition out of GM maize production, to systems that are socially just, ecologically sustainable and provide nutrition security for a rapidly urbanising population in the face of the current crippling drought. It argues that we need to urgently shift away from the mono-focus on a maize towards embracing a diversity of crops – particularly indigenous African summer grain crops such as sorghum and millet – and diverse agricultural practices that support healthy ecosystems, economies and societies.

Download the PDF report 1,5Mb

Download a 4 pager Lobby document in 5 languages.

 

Integration of small-scale farmers into formal seed production in South Africa

The scoping report looks at key policies, legislation and programmes in SA with an emphasis on seed laws and considers the implications for small- scale farmer involvement in this sector and outlines a few projects on community seed production, indigenous crops and black- owned private sector seed production efforts.

Download the Scoping Report

APPEAL AGAINST MONSANTO’S BOGUS GM DROUGHT TOLERANT MAIZE HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR URGENT AGRICULTURE TRANSITION

17th December 2015

Starts

South Africa is in the grip of the worst drought since 1992, with many parts of the country experiencing record temperatures and little to no rain. The maize and transport industries are currently planning for a worst-case scenario, where the continent’s largest maize producer – South Africa – may potentially need to import 4 million metric tons of maize due to the prolonged drought. It is against this backdrop that the South African government has granted approval to Monsanto for it to market its wholly inadequate and over-hyped ‘climate smart’ solution to drought– genetically modified (GM) drought tolerant maize, also known as ‘MON87460.’ The controversial maize was developed under the auspices of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) funded project called Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA), currently operating in five African countries and aimed at ‘benefitting’ smallholder farmers.

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has consistently opposed MON87460 as unproven, unsafe and inappropriate for resource-poor smallholders. The organisation has formally appealed against its approval for commercial cultivation in South Africa. The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Senzeni Zokwana, has advised the ACB on the 15th December 2015 that he has established an Appeal Board to