The ACB is committed to dismantling inequalities in the food and agriculture systems in Africa and the promotion of agro-ecology and food sovereignty.

Call to action: make your submissions to oppose corporate seed Bills and save our seeds

Photo credit: Claire Rousell

The Plant Breeders’ Rights and Plant Improvement 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.

We urgently need to protect and preserve our food and seed sovereignty. It is in our best interests that we make our voices heard and retain what really is ours, which is the right to our food, the quality and control of our seed.

We have produced this email template to create the opportunity for you to express yourself directly to the relevant authorities. The submission template will appear in an email addressed to the relevant officials in your province. Feel free to change the template to express your own views and add your own comments before sending. Your submission will have a much stronger political effect if you add your own comments.

This is an opportunity to stand for what you believe in!

To support our call please:

Click on send mail for your province, and this will automatically send an email to authorities in the province, but please

GM Agrofuel maize to enter SA food system!

In this GMO Alert, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) shares information that the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, has in February 2017, granted Syngenta SA a commodity permit to import genetically modified (GM) maize that is genetically engineered for enhanced ethanol production for the agrofuels industry. (The maize expresses an enzyme, which degrades the starch, thereby enhancing ethanol production.) The maize in question is “stacked” – meaning that, in addition to ethanol production, it is also genetically engineered for pest resistance and herbicide tolerance.

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Towards socially just and ecologically sustainable seed policies for Africa: Farmers, CSOs meet in Harare

Towards socially just and ecologically sustainable seed policies for Africa: Farmers, CSOs meet in Harare
By Sabrina Masinjila, researcher and advocacy officer with the African Centre for Biodiversity
July 2017

Seed policy in sub-Saharan Africa is developing and changing fast, as the seed industry continues to expand its reach. A huge amount of energy and resources are being directed at harmonising seed and intellectual property legislation at the regional level through regional economic communities. Harmonised regional seed laws influence the shaping of national seed legislation, including plant variety protection laws. These are primarily determined by political and economic interests, as private seed companies seek to expand their business ventures into wider markets in Africa.
On the other hand, farmer managed seed systems (FMSS), which are the basis of agricultural systems on the continent, are pointedly ignored, undermined and criminalised. This has huge implications for smallholder farms, where 80% of the seed used is from FMSS. These systems feed the continent, ensuring nutrition and supporting livelihoods, and are central to agroecological systems, cultural practices and biodiversity conservation.

In a quest to deepen seed policy narratives that support FMSS, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), in partnership with the Zimbabwe Seed Sovereignty

Resistance is fertile! Farmers rise up against South Africa’s corporate seed laws

By Linzi Lewis and Sibusiso Nkosi
Calls to decolonise our seed system at Gauteng public hearings on the Plant Improvement and Plant Breeders’ Rights Bills.
Are there alternative systems that put farmers at the centre, do not reduce genetic and agricultural diversity, and support agroecology, seed and food sovereignty and resilience?
South African smallholder farmers, consumers, academics and civil society at large are finally taking up the cudgels against two pieces of legislation that regulate South Africa’s seed. The Plant Improvement Act and Plant Breeders’ Rights Act, promulgated in 1976, have entrenched and buttressed our industrial, corporate controlled agricultural system. Over the decades these laws have systematically eroded our food sovereignty and our indigenous seed and related agricultural knowledge, ultimately giving rise to our inequitable and flawed food system that currently leaves more than half of South African house-holds food insecure. The amendment of these laws (now Bills) brought an opportunity to transform the laws and reshape the food system. Instead, the laws are becoming more draconian.

On 26 May 2017, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) travelled by bus to Tarlton, Krugersdorp with smallholder farmers associated with the University of Johannesburg’s Izindaba Zokudla initiative, to attend two Gauteng public

Regulatory Implications of New Breeding Techniques

This paper presents an evidence-based critique of the Report published by the Academy of Science South Africa (ASSAf) titled ‘Regulatory Implications of New Breeding Techniques’ (the Report). Our critique discusses the pro-GM propaganda contained in the Report and contrasts it with a well-established scientific body of concerns surrounding the use of these so-called new breeding techniques (NBTs), and their potential to exacerbate further the deepening ecological and social crises in South Africa.

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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.

The GM maize onslaught in Mozambique: Undermining biosafety and smallholder farmers

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.

English | Portuguese

Alert GM Imports

In this Alert, the ACB explains how South Africa, through various grain traders, imported GM maize from the US, Argentina and Brazil during Jan-April 2017 due to the drought that hit parts of Southern Africa. It also shows how GM maize is then exported out of South Africa to Swaziland and Zimbabwe and there pushing up prices of maize and contaminating local GM varieties-aside from the biosafety risks the GM maize poses to consumers in all three countries..

Alert GM Imports download .pdf