The article challenges us to reclaim our connection to seed, food and each other and to engage in new food politics.
The African Centre for Biosafety has prepared a discussion document on agroecology-related policy in South Africa, and included a few examples of agroecology practices in South Africa. We trust that this document will contribute to the recently launched Food Sovereignty Campaign and the progress of agroecology practice being made on the ground in South Africa.
MONSANTO FORCED TO WITHDRAW UNSUBSTANTIATED ADVERTISING CLAIMS ON BENEFITS OF GM CROPS-ADVERTISING STANDARDS AUTHORITY OF SOUTH AFRICA
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of South Africa has today ordered Monsanto to withdraw its advertisement on Radio 702 with immediate effect, wherein Monsanto claims the benefits of GM crops. According to ASA, Monsanto?s claims were found to be unsubstantiated. ? The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) lodged a complaint to the ASA following an advertisement on Radio 702 by Monsanto wherein Monsanto claims that GM crops ?enable us to produce more food sustainably whilst using fewer resources; provide a healthier environment by saving on pesticides; decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase crop yields substantially.? The ACB was supported in its complaint by Ms Judith Taylor from Earthlife Africa. ? Monsanto was given an opportunity by ASA to respond to the ACB?s complaint but was according to the ASA, only able to provide the ASA with links to documents on its website but was unable to provide, as it is required to in terms of South African law governing advertising, inputs from an independent and credible expert confirming the various studies that Monsanto relied upon showing the ostensible benefits of GM crops. ? ?We are elated with this decision. Monsanto has already been warned by the ASA as far back
This submission by Monsanto makes a joke of biosafety risk assessment in that it is not based on the actual event under consideration, but rather, the applicant posits claim of lack of harm, toxicity, and allergenicity based on data carried out on other lines containing the same transgene/event. This violates the case by case approach to GMO risk assessment enshrined in the GMO Act 1997. It also lacks sufficient scientific data to support claims of safety and this is exacerbated by lack of peer reviewed information on this event. In addition, the applicant has not considered the health impacts of the herbicide to which this event is engineered to tolerate. Furthermore, approval of this commodity import is likely to significantly impact upon commercial and emerging maize producers, and could have further impacts along the value chain. There are other issues affecting animal feed producers and consumers (the continuation of cheap chicken imports from the EU, for example), the resolution of which would do more to strengthen South Africa?s agricultural sector. It is the opinion of the ACB that this application should be rejected on both biosafety and socio-economic grounds.
The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has released a new report ‘Africa bullied to grow defective Bt Maize: the failure of Monsanto’s MON810 maize in South Africa,’ showing how Monsanto’s GM maize which utterly failed in SA, is now being foisted on the rest of the continent, through ‘sleight of hand.’
FOOD FASCISM IN SOUTH AFRICA: TIGER BRANDS, PIONEER AND PREMIER FORCE FEEDING THE NATION RISKY GM MAIZE
The ACB has today, released test results on the most extensively consumed maize brands in South Africa, which indicate that the entire maize supply is utterly saturated with GM maize. ?The majority of South Africans are not only eating GM maize without their knowledge and consent but have no choice or alternative whatsoever even if the products were correctly labelled. This is totally undemocratic and unacceptable. It smacks of outright food fascism? said Mariam Mayet, Director of the African Centre for Biosafety.
The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa 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
The ACB has submitted an objection to an application by Dow Agro-sciences to conduct a field trial of the stacked GM maize event MON 89034 x TC 1507 x MON NK603. Most of the information required for an independent assessment has been omitted on the grounds that it is ?confidential business information?. What information has been provided is woefully inadequate, relies on discredited scientific principles, such as substantial equivalence, and makes broad claims of environmental and socio-economic ?benefits? without reference to any peer-reviewed studies.
The ACB believes that Dow?s application has failed to adequately show that MON89034 x 1507 x NK603 is safe for human, animal and environmental health, and should therefore be rejected by the Executive Council. The submission has been endorsed by the Southern Cape Land Committee.
Just as consumers were welcoming the news that Tiger Brands has decided to ditch genetically modified (GM) ingredients in its baby food, GMO testing carried out by an independent laboratory on behalf of the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has revealed shocking results in respect of five of Tiger Brands’ most popular maize based products.
The test results on the five products were as follows:
– Ace super maize meal 78% GM maize content.
– Ace maize rice 70% GM maize content.
– Ace instant porridge 68% GM maize content.
– Lion samp and beans 48% GM maize content
– Jungle B’fast energy cereal 41% GM maize content.
The GM maize used in these products will almost certainly contain residues of toxic glyphosate based herbicides, since the vast majority of GM maize cultivated in South Africa has been geneticallly engineered to be resistent to Monsanto’s Roundup. There is now a substantial body of scientifically peer-reviewed data that links glyphosate exposure with severe human health impacts.
Tiger Brands’ Ace brands, consumed as a staple on a daily basis by the vast majority of South Africans, contained the highest levels of GM presence. Community groups are up in arms about these revelations.
MODERNISING AFRICAN AGRICULTURE: WHO BENEFITS?[vc_row][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_tour interval=”0″][vc_tab title=”English” tab_id=”db2e8494-50db-cl”]
STATEMENT BY CIVIL SOCIETY IN AFRICA
MODERNISING AFRICAN AGRICULTURE: WHO BENEFITS?
African agriculture is in need of support and investment. Many initiatives are flowing from the North, including the G8’s “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa” and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). These initiatives are framed in terms of the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). This gives them a cover of legitimacy.
But what is driving these investments, and who is set to benefit from them?
The current wave of investment emerges on the back of the gathering global crisis with financial, economic, food, energy and ecological dimensions. Africa is seen as underperforming and in control of valuable resources that capital seeks for profitable purposes. The World Bank and others tell us Africa has an abundance of available fertile land, and that Africa’s production structure is inefficient, based as it is on many small farms producing mainly for themselves and their neighbourhoodsi.
Africa is seen as a possible new frontier to make profits, with an eye on land, food and biofuels in particular. The recent investment wave must be understood