South Africa’s GM maize flooding into your countries!!!

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has been monitoring the GMO landscape in South Africa since 2004. As recently as three years ago South Africa was importing millions of tons of GM maize from Argentina, used mainly in the animal feed industry. During 2010, South African maize farmers produced a 6 million ton maize surplus, which included a large percentage of GM maize.

With the threat of financial ruin looming large, industry has been scouring the globe in search of new export markets. Last February, nearly 300,000 tons of GM maize was earmarked for export to Kenya. However, this evoked a huge scandal because the GM maize had not been approved in Kenya, resulting in many of the shipments being held up in Mombasa harbour, amid a flurry of contrary statements issued by the Kenyan and South African governments. Further shipments that fell through regulatory cracks were dispatched to Swaziland, Mozambique and even Somalia. The really lucrative markets for commodity grains are found beyond Africa’s shores in Europe, the Middle East and East Asia (making a mockery of the idea that GM crops have been developed to alleviate global hunger). South Korea alone has imported over 1.2 million tons of South African GM maize since the middle of 2010; Taiwan 360,000 tons; Spain and Italy nearly 350,000 tons. It has now come to our attention that since January 2011, South Africa has exported 150,000 tons of GM maize to Mexico, a centre of origin of maize.

Further, a small consignment of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready maize seed (NK 603) has been exported to India, for the purposes of commercial planting, and a massive 70 tons of Monsanto’s extremely controversial and risky GM maize seed has been exported to Egypt. The ACB calls on like-minded activists in these countries to resist these latest corporate attacks on food sovereignty, and hold their governments to account for allowing these fundamental issues to be kept from public scrutiny For more information please refer to our series of briefing papers on the GM maize industry in South Africa and The dirty politics of the global grain trade – GM maize farmers face ruin in SA. For GMO permit lists, issued by the Department of Agriculture, go to the departmental website, then click on divisions / biosafety / information / permits issued.