Tag Archive: agrobiodiversity

No Safe Limits for Toxic Pesticides in Our Foods

Source: http://monarchtestinglab.com/chemical-testing.php

By Dr. Eva Sirinathsinghji
July 2017
On 7 April 7 2017 the South African government issued draft amendments to its regulations governing the legal limits for pesticide residues on food crops. The proposed amendments expose the gaps in regulations to date, despite the cultivation of herbicide-tolerant GM crops for almost two decades.
As the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) team researched the proposed changes to Maximum Residues Levels (MRLs) (see Box below) for various vegetables and staple crops, it became clear that there is no established system or single database where information on MRLs can be found. Even more concerning, it appears that these draft amendments are the first to set levels for glyphosate herbicides on soybeans, while no levels appear to have been set for glufosinate on maize, even though glyphosate-tolerant soybeans and glufosinate-tolerant maize have been cultivated here for many years.
The incomplete information exposes the South African government’s inadequate oversight of our food system. Indeed, the oversight role is fragmented across 14 separate acts of parliament, with policy execution hampered by a lack of clear demarcation regarding mandates, responsibilities and accountability. In contrast, the regulations on MRLs for international export are tightly regulated by the

Against the odds, smallholder farmers maintain agricultural biodiversity in South Africa

This report is a result of research conducted in partnership with Tshintsha Amakhaya, Farmer Support Group, TCOE Zingisa and Surplus People Project. The report investigates the state of farmer-managed seed systems in rural South Africa.

Through 3 case studies in Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the report highlights both the fragility and perseverance of smallholder farmers, who continue to maintain agricultural biodiversity and traditional knowledge, in the face of increasing pressure from all sides. Smallholder farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to make end meet in an agricultural sector dominated by large-scale commercial production and corporate value chains.

Multinational corporations dominate seed provision in South Africa, further driving a commercial and industrial Green Revolution agenda. Farmer-managed seed systems, and the diversity of crops and diets that rely on them, are marginalised and neglected in the process.
The research is one step in highlighting the threats and opportunities facing smallholders and biodiversity in an increasingly harsh production environment. ACB will continue working with our partners and smallholder farmers to support and promote sustainable farming practices and farmer-managed seed systems as part of our broader objectives to transform seed and food systems in South Africa.

Download full report in PDF format