Tag Archive: Mon810

Monsanto’s failed SA GM Maize pushed into rest of Africa

Today the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) released a new report ?Africa bullied to grow defective Bt Maize: the failure of Monsanto?s MON810 maize in South Africa?i, 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?.

Independent scientists have shown that Monsanto?s GM maize variety, MON810 ? which has been growing in SA for 15 years ? has completely failed due to the development of massive insect resistance, leading to the GM maize being withdrawn from the SA market. Monsanto has compensated farmers who were forced to spray their crops with pesticides to control the pests, calling into serious question the very rationale for GM crops.

According to the Director of the ACB, Mariam Mayet, ?Monsanto got the science completely wrong on this one. Independent biosafety scientists have discovered that the inheritance of resistance in African stem borers is a dominant, not recessive, trait as erroneously assumed. Hence the insect resistance management strategies that Monsanto developed, and accepted by our regulators, based on these erroneous assumptions, were utterly ineffective.?

Undeterred, Monsanto is now pushing its flop GM maize onto the rest of the continent. According

Africa bullied to grow defective BT Maize: the failure of Monsanto’s M810 maize in South Africa

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.’

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Hazardous Harvest: Genetically Modified Crops in South Africa: 2008-2012

In this publication, we provide a comprehensive update of the situation with GMOs in SA. Since our last South African update on genetically modified crops, and the transnational companies that control the technology published in 2008, GMOs have become even more entrenched in the country’s agricultural landscape. Over three quarters of South Africa’s maize is now GM, Roundup Ready soybean cultivation has increased nearly fourfold. If Pioneer Hi-Bred’s acquisition of Pannar seed is accepted, we are about to relinquish all control over our seed system to two US multinational corporations. During 2010 and 2011, nearly 6 million tons of GM maize was exported to destinations in Africa and Mexico, the centre of origin of maize.

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ACB objections to Pioneer Hi-Bred’s field trial applications for four new GM maize variety

Pioneer Hi-Bred, who are currently attempting to acquire South Africa‘s largest remaining seed company, Pannar Seed, have submitted applications for field trials of four GM maize varieties. These are all stacked varieties inferring varying combinations of insect resistance and herbicide tolerance. Of particular concern is that all four varieties have been engineered to be used with glufosinate, a highly toxic herbicide that is set to be banned in the European Union.

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Critique of SANBI’s Studies on Monsanto’s MON 810

During early in 2011, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) published a report titled ?Monitoring the Environmental Impacts of GM Maize in South Africa?. The report was a culmination of a study by the Environmental Biosafety Cooperation Project (EBCP) aimed at developing a framework for monitoring of insect resistant maize, Mon810, belonging to Monsanto.

The project, coordinated jointly by SANBI and the Directorate of Nature Management (DNI) in Norway, included contributions by the Norway based Centre for Biosafety (Gen?k) and the South African based, University of the Free Sate, University of Fort Hare and North West University.

The assessments were carried out over two planting maize seasons, 2008/2209 and 2009/2010 and were based upon a series of scientific studies that included field, glasshouse and laboratory assessments. The primary areas of interest included impacts on target and non-target organisms, impacts on soil organism biodiversity, as well as the impact of gene flow and its subsequent contribution to the development of insect resistance.

In this document, we take a critical look at the SANBI studies, and conclude that the SANBI studies for the most part only describe observed effects with no real or in-depth discussion of the causes


31st January, Johannesburg

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), tasked by law, with monitoring the impacts of GMOs on the environment, has released its first report on 28th January 2011. The report co-produced by SANBI with premier biosafety unit, Genok in Norway and a number of South African universities record the findings of a three- year study on the impacts of Monsanto‘s GM maize, MON 810, on the South African environment. MON 810 is used extensively by maize producing commercial farmers in South Africa.

The study found that populations of insect pests have already developed resistance to the Bt maize in the North West Province (one of South Africa‘s most important maize growing areas). This has been exacerbated by gene flow between GM and non-GM maize varieties. The study also found that current refugia were hopelessly insufficient to manage resistance in areas where this has already developed.

At the molecular level, the study found that the size and expression of certain proteins differed between GM and non-GM maize plants analyzed. Further, Monsanto‘s Bt gene was found to differ significantly in size to that occurring naturally. These,


By the end of the year, the South African National Biosviersity Institute (SANBI), will conclude a three year, R14 million rand research project on the impact of Monsanto‘s GM maize variety MON810 on the South African environment. The research project is the first of its kind in South Africa, and will focus on the impacts on target and non-taget pest organisms, soil microbes, plant toxin levels produced and gene flow. The results are due to be published in December 2010

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Open Letter to Minister of Agriculture on Monsanto GM Crop Failures

In April 2009, the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) learnt that three of Monsanto‘s genetically modified (GM) maize varieties had failed to pollinate, leaving up to 200 000 hectares of mielie fields barren across several provinces. We were informed that the varieties that flopped were Monsanto‘s MON 810, NK 603 and its stacked GM maize MON 810 x NK 603. The ACB is of the view that the matter has not been dealt with sufficiently by the Executive Council, the GM regulatory body in South Africa that approved these three events in the first place, nor has the public been sufficiently informed of the EC’s final decision on the matter.

The handling of this matter has not engendered public faith in the regulation of GMOs, an already highly contentious technology. The ACB requests that the Executive Council publicise the biosafety procedures followed in reaching their final decision on the crop failures and the scientific basis upon which they have come to their decision. Public support for such an explanation is steadily growing at: http://www.activist.co.za/.

We reiterate our demands for a ban on all GMOs.

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Three varieties of Monsanto‘s genetically modified maize failed to produce crops during the 2008/9 growing season, leaving up to 200 000 hectares of fields barren of cobs and crop losses across several provinces in South Africa. According the GRAIN SA, the varieties are: MON 810, NK 603 and MON 810 x NK 603. These seeds were sold to commercial maize farmers and provided to resource poor farmers in South Africa.

Monsanto has compensated commercial farmers who lost their yield, and barred these farmers from speaking to the media or public. Monsanto has claimed that a mistake was made in the breeding process. No further details regarding this mistake or how it might have similarly affected all three varieties has been forthcoming from Monsanto. Why the veil of secrecy on Monsanto’s part and the gagging of affected commercial crop producers?

The South African biosafety regulatory authority, which approved the commercial release of these three maize varieties, has not seen fit to make any statement regarding the crop failure to the consuming public. Should we assume that the regulatory authority has uncritically accepted the Monsanto explanation? South Africa is a signatory to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety,

First GMO Seed Scandal in Africa: SA Contaminated the Continent

Seed maize from South Africa, claiming to be pure, has been found to be contaminated with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The South African branch of US seed giant Pioneer Hi-Bred recently exported contaminated maize seeds to unsuspecting Kenyan farmers.
The maize seeds are contaminated with a genetically engineered variety-MON810- belonging to Monsanto that has not been approved in Kenya. GM maize MON 810 contains a novel gene that is considered unsafe and banned in several European countries.

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