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.
These reports introduce the novel techniques already being employed, or in development and their associated biosafety concerns that go against the claim that crops developed with these methods are technological progress in ‘precision’ and ‘safety’. Further described is the utilisation of RNA interference, an epigenetic process that is already being employed in commercialised crops. Despite not being a novel technique under discussion for GM legislation, the utilisation of epigenetic processes based on RNA interference deserves special consideration for biosafety discussion.
This synthesis report summarises ACB’s research on the Green Revolution push in Africa, based on fieldwork conducted in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe over the past three years. The research indicates that the promotion of synthetic fertiliser use in Africa is only a short-term fix for enhancing soil fertility on the continent. In the long run these interventions, spearheaded by organisations such as fertiliser multinational Yara and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), may even lead to lasting damage to the fragile soil life that is the key to sustainable soil health
Farm Input Subsidy Programmes (FISPs): A Benefit for, or the Betrayal of, SADC’s Small-Scale Farmers?
This paper reviews the farm input subsidy programmes (FISPs) within countries belonging to the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), to ascertain whether input subsidies have benefited small-scale farmers, have increased food security at the household and national levels, and have improved the incomes of small-scale farmers.
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.
In this report, the ACB interrogates the Gates Foundation and Monsanto?s Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project and exposes it to be nothing more than corporate ?green washing,? designed to ensnare small holder farmers into adopting hybrid and GM maize in order to benefit seed and agro-chemical companies.
This paper looks at the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project within the context of the race by massive agribusiness corporations to bring climate change related crops to the market. The first part of the paper explains the WEMA project within this context, outlining the players and the stakes involved. It looks at who stands to benefit from the project and what the African countries involved are asked to sacrifice. The second part of the paper looks at Monsanto‘s strategic positioning within this climate change race and how it intends to use WEMA as leverage to bring its controversial crops to a wider global market, simultaneously opening up key markets in Africa for its GM crops. Finally, we outline our concerns and make recommendations with regard to appropriate agricultural systems in Africa.
and the elimination of our collective memory in order to shoehorn people into towns
and convert them into faithful consumers of whatever the market provides.
The impacts of this model go beyond the borders of the new Soya Republics.
The dehumanisation of agriculture and the depopulation
of rural areas for the benefit of the corporations is
increasing in the North and in the South.
The Gates Foundation continues to back agricultural strategies that open new markets for strong corporate interests while assisting in the creation of policy environments to support foreign agribusiness‘ interests. The programme will yoke African farmers into the soya
The genetic engineering (GE) industry is facing a shrinking global market as more and more countries adopt biosafety laws and GE labeling regulations. Africa and Asia are the new frontiers for exploitation by the agro-chemical, seed and GE corporations. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) appears to be at the forefront of a US marketing campaign to introduce GE food into the developing world. It has made it clear that it sees its role as having to ‘integrate biotechnology into local food systems and spread the technology through regions in Africa‘. Through USAID, in collaboration with the GE industry and several groups involved in GE research in the developed world, the US government is funding various initiatives aimed at biosafety regulation and decision-making in Africa, which, if successful, may put in place weak biosafety regulation and oversight procedures. USAID is also heavily involved in funding various GE research projects in a bid to take control of African agricultural research.
During 2006, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) submitted an application to the South African GMO Authority, the Executive Council: GMO Act, for permission to conduct field trials of GM Cassava. The ACB and the international NGO, GRAIN, submitted comprehensive objections to the application on 8 September 2006, widely supported by local and international groups and individuals.
On the 19th of March, 2007, the EC rejected the application and instead, proposed that the trials take place within greenhouses as opposed to the open environment.[i] The main ground for the rejection was the EC’s concern that the ARC had not provided sufficient information to enable an informed risk assessment to take place.
On the 18th April 2007, the ARC submitted an appeal against decision. The ACB was invited by the EC to make submissions in respect thereto, which the ACB duly did, on the 5 October 2007. These submissions are available on the website of the ACB at www.biosafetyafrica.org.za
An appeal board was duly appointed by the Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs and the hearing was held 8-9 October 2007. A decision of the board was apparently arrived at and sent to the Minister, during October 2007, for final