Tag Archive: Africa

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

Open letter to UPOV and FAO on the new intellectual property and seed laws in Africa, Asia and Latin America

The African Centre for Biodiversity, the Network for a GE Free Latin America and JINUKUN – COPAGEN, on behalf of the organizers of a South – South dialogue on intellectual property (IP) and seed laws, want to bring to your attention the declaration that resulted from the Dialogue. This Dialogue was attended by several organizations and networks of farmers working on rural development, environment and agro-ecology issues from Latin America, Asia and Africa met in Durban – South Africa between 27 and 29 November 2015.

English Letter
French  Letter
Spanish Letter

Agricultural investment activities in the Beira Corridor, Mozambique: Threats and opportunities for small-scale farmers

Agricultural growth corridors are key tools for the expansion of the Green Revolution onto the African continent. In Southern Africa, the Beira Corridor – joining Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi to the coast of Mozambique – is one such corridor.

ACB has partnered with UNAC (the National Peasants’ Union) and Kaleidoscopio to produce a report that tracks the development of the Corridor, and links it to the broader Green Revolution thrust in Africa. The particular focus is on the multi-donor Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor (BAGC) initiative. The report also considers the changing seed system in Mozambique, and the possible effects of regional agreements and laws on farmer-managed seed systems. There is a section on agro-dealers as a key delivery mechanism for Green Revolution technologies, especially seed, fertilizer and agrochemicals, and reflections on the alternatives in farmer-based and public sector extension. Finally, the report considers activities around synthetic fertilizer production and distribution and the central role of the Beira Corridor in the Green Revolution strategy in Mozambique.

Download English Executive Summary
Download English Full Report
Download Portuguese Executive Summary

 

White men meet in London to plot ways of profiting off Africa’s seed systems

White men meet in London to plot ways of profiting off Africa’s seed systems

A meeting is to be held in London on 23 March by predominantly white men with a sprinkling of Africans, some of whom represent private seed companies, to discuss how to make a killing off Africa?s seed systems.

Farmers and civil society organisations have not been invited to the meeting, which will be attended only by private seed companies, donors, representatives from Africa?s regional economic communities, research centres and multinational development organisations.

The meeting will discuss a study produced by Monitor-Deloitte, commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and USAID. BMGF is a big sponsor of the commercialisation of agriculture in Africa, including through the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Working with USAID, this commercial agenda extends US foreign policy into Africa and threatens the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers who rely on recycling seed for their livelihoods.

The goal of the Deloitte study is to develop models for commercialisation of seed production in Africa, especially on early generation seed (EGS), and to identify ways in which the African public sector could facilitate private involvement in African seed systems. The

AGRA’s scandalous subsidisation of big fertiliser, financial and agribusiness corporations in Africa

In a scandalous move of skulduggery, the African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), under the guise of empowering smallholder farmers in Africa, is subsidising multinational fertiliser and financial corporations on African soil. Other beneficiaries of this scheme are the global grain trading and food processing giants.

AFAP, established in 2012, with a grant of US $25 million from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)-the biggest grant given to a single recipient by AGRA so far- is ostensibly working towards ensuring that African smallholder farmers grow food and profits. However, according to a new report from the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) – The African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP): The missing link in Africa’s Green Revolution, AFAP’s main focus is the provision of credit guarantees to importers and distributors of fertilisers in Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania.

“In essence, AFAP is using development funds, as well as money from the Ethiopian government – one of the least developed countries in the world – to subsidise multinational fertiliser companies such as Yara, which dominates the fertiliser trade in Africa. This also extends to large multinational banks such as the Standard Bank Group, Barclays and the Dutch firm Rabobank, who

Resources transferred from small-scale farmers to multinational agribusinesses in Malawi’s Green Revolution

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today released its research report based on field work conducted in Malawi, titled “Running to stand still: Small-scale farmers and the Green Revolution in Malawi.” The research, conducted by the ACB in collaboration with the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM), Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology and Dr Blessings Chinsinga from the University of Malawi, does not validate the argument that Malawi is a Green Revolution success story. On the contrary, the research highlights the plight of small-scale farmers at the receiving end of the Green Revolution (GR) push in Malawi. Among its findings are that farmers are trapped in a cycle of debt and dependency on costly external inputs with limited long-term benefit, and that the natural resource base is being degraded and eroded despite ? or perhaps because of – GR inputs.

According to ACB’s lead researcher, Dr Stephen Greenberg, “our research found that small-scale farmers are using shockingly high levels of synthetic fertilisers at great financial costs to themselves and the public purse. Rising soil infertility is a feature of farming systems reliant on synthetic fertiliser. We found that farmers are increasingly adopting hybrid maize seed, encouraged by

Running to Stand Still: Small-Scale Farmers and the Green Revolution in Malawi

According to ACB?s lead researcher, Dr Stephen Greenberg, ?our research found that small-scale farmers are using shockingly high levels ofsynthetic fertilisers at great financial costs to themselves and the publicpurse. Rising soil infertility is a feature of farming systems reliant on synthetic fertiliser. We found that farmers are increasingly adopting hybrid maize seed, encouraged by government subsidies and the promise of massive yields. However, adoption of these hybrid seeds comes at the cost of abandoning diversity and resilience of local seed varieties, and the ever escalating requirement for synthetic fertilisers. Indeed, our findings show net transfers away from farming households to agribusinesses such as SeedCo, Pannar (recentlymerged with Pioneer Hi-Bred), Monsanto and Demeter in the commercial seed industry. For fertiliser, the major fertiliser producers and distributors are Farmers World (which also owns Demeter seed), Yara, TansGlobe, Omnia and Rab Processors.?

Executive summary

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Full Report

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Press Release

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Africa an El Dorado for South Africa’s Agribusiness Giants

South African agribusinesses are aggressively expanding into Africa in search of profits from a relatively untapped consumer market with rising income levels and to escape the country’s negative economic conditions. This paper traces this expansion and outlines the implications for Africa’s market structure, food security and food sovereignty movements, as well as exploring the potential impact on Africa?s small-scale farmers and producers.

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AFSA Statement Condemning COMESA Approval of GMO Policy

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa[1] is alarmed at the approval during September 2013, by the Council of Ministers of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) of the COMESA ?Draft Policy Statements and Guidelines for commercial planting of GMOs, Trade in GMOs and Emergency Food aid with GMO content.? The COMESA Policy aggressively promotes the wholesale proliferation of GMOs on the African continent by way of commercial plantings, commodity imports and food aid and flouts international biosafety law.

The Policy is intent on creating a clumsy, confusing, cumbersome and prohibitively exorbitant centralised regional decision making system that is utterly at odds with the provisions as set out in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and national biosafety frameworks. All of the COMESA member states have ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Almost all COMESA member states have developed their own National Biosafety Frameworks (NBFs), indicating that decision- making concerning GMOs is to be made at the national level.

Why then the need for this harmonised Policy? If not to by pass international and national biosafety regulations requiring case by case biosafety assessments, because the biotechnology industry, agribusiness, free trade proponents and the food aid industry are

Africa demands Tiger Brands to Go GM Free

Letter from ACB to Tiger Brands supported by 39 African organisations working at grass-roots on issues of agriculture, consumer concerns and primary health care calling upon Tiger Brands to go GM free. Tiger Brands operates in 25 African countries and has ownership of a number of food manufacturers on the continent including Chococam (Cameroon), Deli Foods (Nigeria), EATBI (Ethiopia), Haco Tiger Brands (Kenya), National Foods (Zimbabwe), UAC Foods (Nigeria), Dangote Flour Mills (Nigeria).

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