GMOs

GMOs

The GMO crisis in Swaziland

The GMO crisis in Swaziland

By Tsakasile Dlamini
Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (Pelum) Swaziland Country Coordinator
October 2017
Swaziland is under enormous pressure to introduce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the country’s farming system. This pressure is coming not only from Monsanto but also from farmers and some sections of the public who have been fed a great deal of misinformation and hype by the pro-biotech machinery. The farmers, acting on incomplete and often unsubstantiated information, are pushing for the adoption of genetically modified (GM) cotton, in the hope that it will give them greater yields, while reducing the costs of production.

Currently, according to Swaziland’s legislation, to import GM products or live GMOs (seeds) one needs to apply for a permit; a lengthy process that requires evidence that the GMO in question is safe. However, it is an open secret that farmers are bringing GM cotton and maize seed into the country illegally from South Africa because they have been informed that GM-based farming is more cost effective. It is unfortunate that a majority of our cotton farmers are told disingenuously about the “great yields and benefits” of GM cotton and not about the dangers associated with this technology. There is a serious

Seed sovereignty for Peasant Farmers in Malawi blocked by emerging national seed policy

By Bright Thamie Phiri

September 2017
The government of Malawi is poised to adopt a draconian National Seed Policy that blocks peasant farmers’ opportunities to secure and strengthen farmer-managed seed systems (FMSS), and which would undermine farmers’ rights and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, to which Malawi is a Party.
An ad hoc stakeholder policy dialogue on the draft National Seed Policy held at the Ministry of Agriculture headquarters in Lilongwe (Malawi) on 07 September 2017 marginalised the voices of farmers and civil society at large. It dismissed out of hand concerns that have been made via various submissions and petitions. Civil society raised the following three key aspects: the omission of FMSS from the National Seed Policy framework, including the narrow scope of the definition of seed so as to exclude farmers’ varieties; the implications of aligning seed policy with harmonised regional seed trade regulatory systems under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA); and lack of recognition and protection of farmers’ rights.
The meeting advanced provisions in the policy framework that require standardisation and certification of seed varieties by mandating

MVIWATA and ACB Opposing Application for Field trials of Stacked GM Maize MON 87460 X MON 810

Monsanto_WEMA_Experimental_Plot_Ilonga_ARI

The Tanzania National Farmers Network Organisation, Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania (MVIWATA) and the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) are objecting to an application submitted by the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) for confined field trials of Monsanto’s stacked GM maize MON 87460 X MON 810 (GM drought tolerant stacked with throw-away and ineffective insect resistant technology).

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Seed capture in South Africa: A threat to seed freedom but the seed movement is fighting back

Simangele Siko, a member of the central committee at Izindaba Zokudla, in her thanks to ACB after the workshop said, “The farmers have got power, immense power, but you have just unearthed the power!”
By Claire Rousell
25 August 2017

Who can claim to own a seed? In these kernels lie the genetic wisdom of millions of years, co-created within specific environments by millions of organisms, including humans. Seeds also contain the future: the potential for life, nourishment and pleasure for generations to come.

Taking on different forms around the world, the Seed Movement has been gathering momentum for the last 20 years or more, through the work of devoted seed-keepers tending to their precious collections and dedicated activist networks collectively working to defend seed sovereignty and resist corporate capture of seeds. The energy around the Seed Movement has been amped up in the last few years in response to a number of governments in Africa – including Ghana and Tanzania – that are pushing to pass laws that criminalise the saving and exchange of seed, as well as aiming to have increased control over the harvests of seed that are protected by plant breeders’ rights.
For the last two

OPEN LETTER TO AFRICAN BIOSAFETY REGULATORS

OPEN LETTER TO AFRICAN BIOSAFETY REGULATORS

Do not allow Africans to be used as guinea pigs for untested high-risk new GM technology

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa calls for an immediate ban on the importation into South Africa of Monsanto’s high-risk second-generation gene-silencing genetically modified (GM) maize destined for human consumption. AFSA rejects and condemns US corporation Monsanto’s plan to exploit millions of Africans as unwitting human guinea pigs for their latest genetic engineering experiment. AFSA also condemns the IITA field trial application in Nigeria using this same risky technology to produce GM cassava for the agro-fuels industry.

These GM applications target staple foods of maize and cassava, eaten by many millions of Africans every day. Scientists have reported that the untested gene-silencing effect is able to cross over into mammals and humans, and affect their genetic makeup with unknown potential negative consequences, and have called for long-term animal testing and stronger regulation before this goes ahead.

In an open letter to African Biosafety Regulators AFSA demands that, while these risks remain, the introduction of this untested RNAi technology be unequivocally banned by all member states of the African Union. Regulators in South Africa and Nigeria are urged

RNA interference GMOs to enter South Africa and Nigeria

In this Alert, the ACB warns that the South African government received an application for the commodity clearance (import for food, feed and processing) of a ‘multi-stacked variety’ of genetically modified (GM) maize – MON87427 × MON89034 × MIR162 × MON87411, which represents the entry of the second generation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in South Africa. Unlike standard first-generation GMOs, this GM maize variety utilises what is termed the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway. Such GMOs are the latest in the GM push on the wider African continent. Indeed, Nigeria has recently received an application for the field trials of a GM cassava variety that uses RNAi to reduce the amount of starch in cassava, with the purported aim of preventing starch breakdown during storage.

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The Water Efficient Maize for Africa Project: Profiteering not Philanthropy

This scoping study aims to appraise, to the best of our knowledge, the current status of the roll-out of a public- private partnership which forms the the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project in five African countries: Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The partnership is between the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Monsanto and the National Agricultural Research Agencies (NARs).

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