Tag Archive: Biowatch South Africa



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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

An Open Letter to Oxfam America

Sent from the following concerned groups:

African Center on Biodiversity, South Africa (Mariam Mayet, Executive Director)
Bharatiya Krishak Samaj/Indian Farmers Association, India (Krishan Bir Chaudhary, President)
Center for Food Safety, U.S. (Debi Barker, International Director)
CNOP (Coordination Nationale des organizations Paysannes/ National Coordination of Peasant Organizations), Mali (Ibrahima Coulibaly, President)
Grassroots International, US (Nikhil Aziz, Executive Director)
Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam/Farmers Association Of Tamil Nadu, India (S.Kannaiyan, Organizer)
The Oakland Institute, US (Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director)

April 12, 2010

Mr. Jeremy Hobbs
Executive Director, Oxfam International
266 Banbury Road, Suite 20
Oxford OX2 7DL
United Kingdom

Mr. Ray Offenheiser
President, Oxfam America
1100 15th St., NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
United States of America

Dear Mr. Hobbs and Mr. Offenheiser:
We the undersigned, as part of the global food justice and food sovereignty movement, are writing to you to express our grave concerns with the recent position publicized by Oxfam America in support of agricultural biotechnology as a viable solution for addressing poverty faced by resource poor and subsistence farmers in developing countries. We deemed necessary to write to you not just because of a recently released book, but also because Oxfam America appears to be positioning itself

Regulation of GMOs in South Africa

? The African Centre for Biosafety 2007
ISBN: 978-0-620-39333-1
by Mariam Mayet

The ACB has been motivated to write this paper by the coming into effect on the 17th April 2007, of the Genetically Modified Organisms Amendment Act (No. 23 of 2006).(ii) This amends the Genetically Modified Organisms Act No. 15 of 1997 (‘GMO Act’), 10 years after it became part of the body of post-apartheid statutes in South Africa.

The author has in the past few years, on behalf of the NGO, Biowatch South Africa, thoroughly interrogated and critiqued the GMO Act.(iii) In addition, the ACB has interrogated countless permit applications in terms of the GMO Act,(iv) and thus, offers this document as a further contribution to our on-going work in the field of biosafety in South Africa.

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Table of Contents

Summary of GMO act as amended
Historical context
GMOs in South Africa
GMO Policy
GM Regulation in SA
The GMO Act (as amended)
Executive Council and decision making
Additional powers of the Executive Council
Advisory Council
Role, functions and powers of the Registrar
Labelling and the right to know
Traceability and implications for international trade
Liability and redress

BT-Maize 176 / SyngentaBt-Potato G2 & G3 / South African Agricultural Research Council

  • GMPotatoesObjection.pdf Additional Comments and Objections to Continued Trials of GM Potatoes

    African Centre for Biosafety, supported by various organisations, groups, companies, and individuals, Mar 2006

  • objection_bt_potato_g2_g3.pdf Objections to application for a permit for additional trials with insect resistant Bt Cry V Genetically Modified Potatoes (Solanum Tuberosum L. Variety ‘Spunta’ G2 and G3), as applied for by Dr G. Thompson, Director Plant Protection and Biotechnology , South African Agricultural Research Council, dated 24 May 2004 Download 157Kb

    G. Ashton, G. Baker, M. Mayet, E. Pschorn-Strauss, W. Stafford, June 2004

  • Report2_Bt_Potato_G2G3.pdf Report 2003/2004 GMO Potato Project.

    ARC-Roodeplaat, Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute and the Michigan State University (USA), made public in June 2004
    Download 156Kb


1 Rights of Access to information severely prejudiced

The extensive deficiencies in the information supplied by the Applicant in response to our request for access to information in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (“PAIA”) coupled with the conflicting time frames provided by the Regulations under the Genetically Modified Organisms Act 15 of 1997 (“GMO Act” and those provided by PAIA, have severely restricted our rights to access