Tag Archive: Africa

Africa’s Green Revolution rolls out the Gene Revolution

THE ‘New Green Revolution in Africa‘, touted since the 1990s, was given renewed impetus two and a half years ago, when the Rockefeller and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations launched the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).1 Although AGRA itself does not incorporate genetically modified (GM) crops in its projects, the ominous presence of GM companies and GM technologies hovers over the Green Revolution push like a bad dream.

Millions of dollars have been poured into the coffers of a host of carefully selected role players, to lay the groundwork for the industrialisation of African agriculture and creation of markets for agribusiness giants. These AGRA players include US groups such as Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs (CNFA) and the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC). Both these groups are successfully enmeshing the corporate interests of Syngenta Crop Protection, Dow AgroSciences, Bayer CropScience, Du Pont Crop Protection and Monsanto within AGRA projects in select African countries.

It is also becoming extremely important to link the huge amounts of cash flowing into ‘Green Revolution’ coffers, to the enormous cash injections flowing from the Gates Foundation into biosafety projects in Africa. The beneficiaries of huge Gates Foundation

Genes from Africa: the Colonisation of Human DNA

Indigenous people?s groups and NGOs have waged a long and bitter struggle against the Human Genome Diversity Project and similar efforts to collect the DNA of indigenous and other peoples without appropriate consent and sufficient safeguards against abuse. The Human Genome Diversity Project
(HGDP), the brainchild of Italian geneticist Luca Cavalli-Sforza, comprised of a group of scientists who in the 1990s proposed to collect biological samples from over 700 different population groups throughout the world. The HGDP?s ostensible aim was to map their DNA and in so doing, build a representative database ofhuman genetic diversity.

This seemingly laudable aim belies the fact that during 1997, the
US National Research Council (NRC) found the HGDP?s proposed work to be ethically and
scientifically inadequate.

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A Green Revolution for Africa: Disaster in the making

When world leaders hastily gathered at the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO) high level conference to respond to the global food crisis the three Rome based UN organizations (the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural development and the World Food Programme) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to aggressively advance the Green Revolution push in Africa.

A distinctive underpinning of the propagation of the Green revolution is the inherent tendency to view food shortages as a shortcoming of food supply rather than as a more complex phenomenon requiring a far more holistic and wide ranging understanding of why people go hungry. At its core, the Green Revolution undermines Africa’s food systems and food sovereignty: People’s right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to use their own food and agriculture systems.

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DISPLACING AFRICA’S INDIGENOUS FOOD: Monsanto & AATF’s GM Cowpea Project

Nairobi based African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and Monsanto are set to introduce genetically engineered cowpeas in the coming years into the fields and tables of Africa. It will use Nigeria and Burkina Faso as key entry points, with Ghana, Cameroon, Niger and Mali comprising the second tier of countries that will be targeted. The project is assisted by Nigeria- based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), one of the 15 agricultural research institutes of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The CGIAR is funded primarily by the World Bank, the USA, Japan, the European Union and Canada. Indeed, the IITA has the mandate for cowpea research and is in the forefront of breeding high yielding varieties by using a range of genetic manipulation techniques to deal with biological constraints affecting crop yields and quality.

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GM Crops for Africa? No Thanks!

?Most African countries, like many other poor countries cannot advance GM crop research because their national policies or regulatory systems are not prepared to deal with safety requirement for approving general use.? Joel Cohen of the International Food Policy Research Institute based in Washington DC was reported to have said.

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Contaminated US Rice Must Be Recalled From Africa

African Groups Condemn US Decision To Authorize Illegal GM Rice Sent To Africa

Lagos (Nigeria), Johannesburg (South Africa), 27 November. Friends of the Earth Africa and the African Center for Biosafety are today urging African countries to monitor US rice imports and to recall all shipments contaminated with GM rice known as LibertyLink601 (LL601). This call follows the confirmation of the presence of the illegal variety LL601 in food aid and commercial imports of rice from the US in Ghana and Sierra Leone.

?This rice is not approved in Africa and must be immediately recalled from our countries? said Nnimmo Bassey of FoE Africa. ?Africa will not accept being the dumping ground for unwanted GM rice. Our governments must stay firm and not fall under the US pressure to accept this tainted rice?.

The presence of illegal rice was verified in 9 samples of U.S. food aid and commercial imports after tests were conducted in an independent laboratory in the U.S. The unapproved GM rice has been detected in rice sent to Ghana and Sierra Leone and the results were publicly announced by FoE Africa in a simultaneous press conference in both countries in the morning of the 24th

African Agriculture under genetic engineering onslaught

Genetic engineering has made rapid entry into agriculture in the United States, Argentina, Canada, Brazil and South Africa, with these countries accounting for 99% of genetically modified (GM) crops grown globally. Now we are witnessing aggressive attempts, especially by the United States through its agency for international development (USAID) and its genetic engineering industry, to impose GM crops upon Africa under the guise of addressing food security, environmental stress and fighting poverty.

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GM Food aid: Africa denied choice once again?

Controversy over genetically modified (GM) food aid arose in 2000 in Latin America, and Asia, and exploded in 2002, when several southern African countries refused GM food aid during a food crisis. Now, in 2004 the controversy has erupted again after Sudan and Angola imposed restrictions over GM food aid. Food aid has been heavily criticized in the last fifty years, because it serves the interests of certain countries, particularly the US Government, as a tool to inter alia facilitate export surpluses and/or capture new markets. The use of GM food aid by the US has added a new dimension to the debate, because the provision of GM food aid is seen as providing an important back- door entry point for the introduction of genetically modified organism (GMOs) in developing countries.

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