We call on the government to reverse approval of GM wheat into our country

Thank you to the 80+ organisations, listed below, who support this ACB submission to the South African Biosafety authorities, the Executive Council (EC): GMO Act, to review and reassess its decision to grant approval for the importation into South Africa of genetically modified (GM) wheat HB4, and set such approval aside. If your organisation or company wishes to endorse this submission, please email comms@acbio.org.za.

Please also see our full briefing titled, Unsafe GM wheat to enter South Africa’s food systems: Disaster capitalism, biotech industry in decline & instrumentalisation of wheat in Africa. In our submission, we argue that the EC failed to adhere to the precautionary principle in that it did not adopt a risk-averse and cautious approach when it approved the entry of GM wheat, an important staple food in South Africa, consumed by millions of people daily.

There is no indication that the EC evaluated and engaged critically with the paucity of information and lack of food safety data, assessments, and evidence before it. Astonishingly, the EC’s decision that there was no need to pursue whole food and feed studies suggests that there was no rigorous scientific assessment conducted in relation to the safety and efficacy of GM wheat. To make matters worse, the EC failed to call for an independent risk assessment despite there being no data at all on the safety of the GM wheat in question, particularly since no feeding studies had been undertaken.

Further, the EC failed to consider the grave concerns raised by the research community, with 1 400 scientists warning that the introduction of GM wheat would perpetuate an agribusiness model that is harmful to the environment and biodiversity while failing to solve the problems of the food system.

We are also extremely concerned about the contamination of the national wheat supply and the implications this may also have for countries to which South Africa exports wheat in the region, including Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia, and Namibia.

We are of the view that the approval signifies governance failure on the part of the EC and that it is incumbent upon the EC to review its decision and set this aside as a matter of urgency.

Below is the list of 80+ organisations that have signed the submission calling on the Executive Council to review its decision to approve GM Wheat for import into South Africa as food, feed and processing.


  1. Abalimi
  2. Advocacy Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture (ACSA), Uganda
  3. African Circular Economy Network
  4. African Climate Reality Project
  5. African Volunteers Association
  6. All Nepal Peasants Federation
  7. Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)
  8. AllisOne
  9. Asociacion Red de Coordinación en Biodiversidad de Costa Rica
  10. Association Togolaise pour le Développement de l’Agriculture Durable, une organisation qui fédère les (ATODAD)
  11. Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA)
  12. Bafo and Busi Organic Farming (Pty) Ltd
  13. Bench Marks Foundation
  14. Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya (BIBA-K)
  15. Bioscience Resource Project
  16. Biowatch
  17. Caritas Uganda
  18. Caritas Zambia
  19. Central Archdiocesan Province Caritas Association (CAPCA)
  20. Centro Internazionale Crocevia
  21. Centre d’expérimentation et de Valorisation de L’ Agroécologie des Sciences et Techniques Endogènes (CEVASTE), Benin
  22. Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT)
  23. Confédération Paysanne, France
  24. Consumers’ Association of Penang
  25. EarthLore Foundation
  26. Eastern and Southern Africa Small-scale Farmers (ESAFF)
  27. Eco Hope
  28. Enviromental Monitoring Group (EMG)
  29. Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria
  30. European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC)
  31. FAEB – Benin Agroecological Federation, Benin
  32. Fédération Nationale pour l’Agriculture Biologique (FENAB)
  33. Femmes Environnement Nature Entrepreneuriat Vert (FENEV), DRC
  34. Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN) International
  35. Fish Hoek Valley Residents and Ratepayers Association (FHVRRA)
  36. Food Garden Community: Sutton Park Pool
  37. Food Sovereignty Ghana
  38. Friends of the Earth (FOA), International
  39. Friends of the Earth (FOA), Africa
  40. GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment
  41. Genethics Foundation
  42. Global Environmental Trust (GET)
  43. GMO/Toxin Free USA
  44. Good Food Network
  45. Grain
  46. HumanTouchAI
  47. Jiinue Mazingira
  48. Justiça Ambiental (JA!)
  49. Kebulwet
  50. Klerksdorp Christian Academy
  51. Kos en Fynbos Urban Farmer
  52. Kraut and Krunch
  53. La Grande Puissance de Dieu
  54. Les Amis de la Terre, Togo
  55. Let’s Collaborate
  56. Little Big Tree Farm
  57. Melca, Ethiopia
  58. Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO)
  59. Murrough Trust
  60. Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania (MVIWATA)
  61. Nkuzi Development Association NPC
  62. Noordhoek Environmental Action Group
  63. Ntaamba Hiinta development Trust, Zambia
  64. Nzoia Grains and Marketing Cooperative society
  65. Organic Consumers Alliance
  66. Pan-Africanist International, Belgium
  67. Participatory Guarantee Systems South Africa
  68.  Partners for the Land & Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples (PLANT)
  69. Rye Bakery
  70. Sacred Earth & Storm School
  71. Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI)
  72. South African Organic Sector Organisation (SAOSO)
  73. Seed2harvest
  74. SeedChange
  75. Sahabat Alam, Malaysia
  76. Sierra Leone Network on the Right to Food (SiLNoRF)
  77. Society of African Earth Scientists
  78. Surplus Peoples project
  79. Tabita Mission
  80. Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO)
  81. Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE)
  82. Tshintsha Amakhaya
  83. Ukuvuna
  84. UnPoison
  85. Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity (ZAAB) Secretariat
  86. Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF)

We strongly urge individuals to write to the Executive Council in their personal capacity, calling for a review of their decision, via 

Julian B. Jaftha 

Chairperson, Executive Council GMO Act 

Chief Director: Plant Production & Health  


Harvest House Room 234  

Hamilton Street Arcadia Pretoria, 0001 

Tel: 27 12 319 6536                Fax: 27 12 319 6347   Cell: 060 973 1645