Tag Archive: corporate control

OPEN LETTER TO AFRICAN BIOSAFETY REGULATORS

OPEN LETTER TO AFRICAN BIOSAFETY REGULATORS

Do not allow Africans to be used as guinea pigs for untested high-risk new GM technology

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa calls for an immediate ban on the importation into South Africa of Monsanto’s high-risk second-generation gene-silencing genetically modified (GM) maize destined for human consumption. AFSA rejects and condemns US corporation Monsanto’s plan to exploit millions of Africans as unwitting human guinea pigs for their latest genetic engineering experiment. AFSA also condemns the IITA field trial application in Nigeria using this same risky technology to produce GM cassava for the agro-fuels industry.

These GM applications target staple foods of maize and cassava, eaten by many millions of Africans every day. Scientists have reported that the untested gene-silencing effect is able to cross over into mammals and humans, and affect their genetic makeup with unknown potential negative consequences, and have called for long-term animal testing and stronger regulation before this goes ahead.

In an open letter to African Biosafety Regulators AFSA demands that, while these risks remain, the introduction of this untested RNAi technology be unequivocally banned by all member states of the African Union. Regulators in South Africa and Nigeria are urged

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

US FORCE FEEDS GM CROPS TO AFRICAN NATIONS, SAYS NEW REPORT

Friends of the Earth International

 

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, 23 February, 2015 ? US agencies, funders such as the Gates Foundation, and agribusiness giant Monsanto are trying to force unwilling African nations to accept expensive and insufficiently tested Genetically Modified (GM) foods and crops, according to a new report released today. [1]

?The US, the world’s top producer of GM crops, is seeking new markets for American GM crops in Africa. The US administration’s strategy consists of assisting African nations to produce biosafety laws that promote agribusiness interests instead of protecting Africans from the potential threats of GM crops,? said Haidee Swanby from the African Centre for Biosafety, which authored the report commissioned by Friends of the Earth International.

The new report also exposes how agribusiness giant Monsanto influences biosafety legislation in African countries, gains regulatory approval for its product, and clears the path for products such as GM maize (corn).

Only four African countries -South Africa, Egypt, Burkina Faso and Sudan- have released GM crops commercially but the issue of genetically modified maize is deeply controversial, given that maize is the staple food of millions of Africans.

Unlike Europe and other regions where strong biosafety laws have been

Who Owns Our Food Systems… Information sheets in English, Afrikaans, Sotho and Zulu

Click on a heading below and download an A4 information sheet in your preferred language.

GM-Health

Is our PAP safe?

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Price-Fixing

Fixing the price of Food. SA’s poor bear the brunt of rising food costs while big food companies’ profits rise.

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Small-scale-farmers

Small-Scale Farmers and the maize value chain. Our government’s vision for agrarian reform is for small-scale farmers to enter the commercial market. This is a pipe dream!

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Value-Chain

Who Owns our Maize? In South Africa a handful of very powerful corporations control how and what we eat!

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GM-Health

Is ons PAP veilig?

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GM-Testing

Geneties gewysigde pap: Geen keuse vir Suid-Afrikaners.

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Price-Fixing

Prys vasstelling van voedsel. Suid-Afrika se armes ly onder die stygende voedselpryse, terwyl groot voedselmaatskappye se winste styg.

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Small-scale-farmers

Kleinskaalse boere en die mielie-waardeketting. Ons regering se visie vir landbouhervorming, is dat kleinskaalse boere die kommerersi?le mark betree. Dit is ‘n hersenskim!

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Value-Chain

Aan wie behoort ons mielies? Die reis wat mielies vanaf die boer se plaas tot by dies silo en dan na die meul en eindelik tot by die supermark onderneem, word die ‘mielie waardeketting’, genoem.

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GM-Health

Na PAPA ya rona e bolokehile?

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GM-Testing

Papa ya

WHO OWNS OUR FOOD SYSTEM?

It is a matter of urgency that we break up these cartels that have South African consumers, especially the poorest of the poor, in a vice grip through control of our two staple foods ? maize and bread.

South Africans eat about 28 billion loaves of bread and, on average, about 100kg of maize and maize-related products each year ? wheat and maize are the country?s staple foods. Only a few companies control the wheat and maize value chains ? the journey taken from the farmer?s fields to the mill, the supermarket shelf and then to our tables each day.

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Suid-Afrikaners eet jaarliks sowat 28 biljoen brode en gemiddeld verbruik elke persoon jaarliks 100kg mielies en mielie-verwante produkte ? koring en mielies is die land se stapelvoedsel. Die koring- en mielie waardekettings word deur slegs ?n paar maatskappye beheer. Dit sluit die voorsieningsketting vanaf die boer se lande na die meule, die winkelrak tot by ons tafels elke dag, in.

Lees verder

Abantu baseNingizimu Afrika badla cishe amalofu esinkwa angu 28bhiliyoni, kanti ukulinganisa, cishe ngu 100kg wombila kanye nemikhiqizo eyenziwe ngempumphu kunyaka nonyaka ? ukolo kanye nombila ukudla okudliwa kakhulu kwemihla ngemihla ezweni. Zinkampani ezimbalwa ezilawula

Acquisition of Africa?s SeedCo by Monsanto, Groupe Limagrain: Neo-colonial occupation of Africa?s seed systems

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) is deeply concerned about the recent acquisitions by multi-national seed companies of large parts of SeedCo, one of Africa?s largest home-grown seed companies. Attracting foreign investment from the world?s largest seed companies, most of who got to their current dominant positions by devouring national seed companies and their competitors through mergers and acquisitions, is an inevitable consequence of the fierce drive to commercialise agriculture in Africa.

The deals in question involve French seed giant Groupe Limagrain, the largest seed and plant breeding company in the European Union, who has invested up to US$60 million for a 28% stake in SeedCo. In another transaction, SeedCo has agreed to sell 49% of its shares in Africa?s only cottonseed company, Quton, to Mahyco of India. Mahyco is 26% owned by Monsanto and has 50:50 joint venture with the gene-giant to sub-license its genetically modified (GM) bt cotton traits throughout India. Interestingly, Mahyco also specialises in hybrid cotton varieties, unlike Quton, who also produces open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) of cottonseed.

These acquisitions follow close on the heels of Swiss biotech giant Syngenta?s take-over in 2013 of Zambian seed company MRI Seed, whose maize germplasm collection was said

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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ACB applauds tribunal decision to prohibit Pioneer Hi Bred and Pannar seed merger

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) applauds today’s decision of the Competition Tribunal (Tribunal) to prohibit the seed merger between multinational seed company Pioneer Hi Bred, and South Africa‘s largest seed company, Pannar Seed.

During December 2010, the Competition Commission prohibited the merger and the merging parties referred the Commission’s decision to the Tribunal for reconsideration. After a three- week- long hearing, the Tribunal has decided to similarly prohibit the merger. Reasons for the decision is still forthcoming and no further information is at this stage available.

The ACB was granted leave by the Tribunal on the 19th August 2011, to intervene in the merger proceedings on public interest grounds, particularly with regard to the effect the merger would have on small scale farmers. This was itself precedent setting in that it was the first time the Tribunal had allowed NGOs to intervene in merger proceedings.

The ACB has in fact been involved in the merger proceedings since October 2010. The ACB participated in the proceedings and led the expert evidence of an agricultural economist working directly with small- holder farmers, who outlined the devastating impacts the merger would have on small-holder farmers and food security.

According

Corporate concentration and control in the grains and oilseed value chain in South Africa: A case study of the Bunge/Senwes joint venture

The Bunge/Senwes joint venture signals the first significant investment by Bunge in Africa. Bunge is one of the world’s largest and most influential corporations and is amongst a handful of companies dominating global trade in agricultural commodities. Senwes holds a dominant position in the South African market for the storage and handling of grain crops. In this briefing, we provide inter alia:

  • A breakdown of the value chains of the various grains and oilseeds that the joint venture will focus upon, with particular attention being paid to the storage and handling of these crops;
  • Information on South Africa’s three largest grain storage companies;
  • A summary of the merger and acquisition activity in the agribusiness sector, including areas of strategic convergence such as poultry production and grain storage and trading; and
  • Our major concerns with the joint venture and the imbalances and inequities in the food system that it entrenches.
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