Groups appeal to UN High Commissioner For Human Rights, Secretary General of CBD
Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Oakland US?19 March 2013?Civil society groups from South Africa, Latin America- especially Brazil, Argentina- and the United States are deeply disturbed by the recent decision by the South African GMO authorities to grant approval for the import into South Africa, of Dow?s genetically engineered (GE) soybean variety (DAS-44406-6). This variety is genetically engineered to resist liberal applications of the toxic chemicals 2,4-D, glufosinate and glyphosate. Such an approval is calculated to add weight to Dow?s applications for approvals of this GE variety for commercial growing especially in Brazil, Argentina, and the US.
?We condemn the decision by the South African authorities. Once again, economic interests are riding roughshod over our government?s stewardship role to protect the health of our citizens and environment. The decision to approve this GE soybean variety is all the more galling in light of a current motion by the African Christian Democratic Party before the South African Parliament, to overturn a previous decision to allow imports of Dow?s 2,4-D tolerant GE maize into South Africa.? said Mariam Mayet of the African Centre for Biosafety. This GM
Durban will host the 9th World Soybean Research Conference 17-22nd February 2013, sponsored by the Ethekwini Municipality and agrochemical corporations Monsanto, Syngenta and Dupont. The theme of the conference is ?From China to Africa ? Can research close the gap between soy production and increasing global demand.?
According to Mariam Mayet, Director of the African Centre for Biosafety, ?The World Soybean conference is really about the promotion of mono-cultures of genetically modified (GM) soya for global export markets. This is in keeping with the current trend of external investment in African agricultural land and resources for the production of commodities for other parts of the world, with the Chinese meat industry being a key driver.
In Africa, farms of less than 2 hectares account for 70-90% of farms in most African countries, and which produce the bulk of staple food crops1. The introduction of soya plantations will disrupt food production and supply systems and have serious implications for food security and livelihoods across the continent.?
China?s economic boom has profoundly impacted on the global food system. Its total meat consumption now stands at a whopping 71 million tons! Indeed, more than a quarter of all
Setting the record straight on the Seralini GM maize rat study: why the SA government must urgently intervene
In this briefing we respond to the main criticisms of the Seralini GM maize rat study (which have been appearing ad nauseum in the world’s mainstream media); provide some background as to the importance of the NK603 GM maize to the biotechnology industry (and hence the scale of their reaction); and place the attacks on Seralini in the context of previous experiences of those whose research has uncovered some inconvenient truths about the nature and risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). We also reiterate our calls for urgent intervention by the SA government to inter alia, ban the said GM variety.
Snippet from the letter below.
The ACB read with interest an article published in the Business Day (2nd October, ‘AgriSA backs gene-modified maize’), in which you argue that the curtailment of cultivating GM maize in South Africa would lead to lower yields, higher maize prices, and an increase in the use of agricultural pesticides. You then further go on to claim that GM crops are less susceptible to pests and drought. We find these claims to be spurious, unsubstantiated and completely detached from the day to day realities of our agricultural system.
Glyphosate in SA: unregulated and contaminating our water and soil: ACB calls for a moratorium on glyphosate use
The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today released its new research on glyphosate, titled “Glyphosate in SA: Risky pesticide at large and unregulated in our soil and water”. The research shows that although glyphosate (a weed killer) is ubiquitous throughout South African agriculture, there is precious little research done to monitor and manage its environmental impacts.
Glyphosate is most commonly used in agricultural crop production and has become synonymous with genetically modified (GM) herbicide tolerant (HT) cops. HT maize now accounts for 50% of all GM maize planted in South Africa. GM soya cultivation rose from 165,000 ha in 2008 to 472,000 ha in 2012. Over a similar period (2005 – 2012), the overall use of glyphosate has increased from 12 million litres to 20 million litres. Similarly, from 2007 to 2011 glyphosate imports increased by 177%.
According to the ACB study, far from being the benign substance claimed by the pesticide industry, notably Monsanto, glyphosate exerts a heavy toll on plants, the soil, wildlife and aquatic systems.
The ACB research points to a number of risks associated with glyphosate use which include:
- glyphosate, and glyphosate based herbicides (GBH): have been
Explosive results from a new French study conducted on the long-term health impacts of genetically modified (GM) foods published in the peer reviewed journal ‘Food and Toxicology’ last week, suggest that consumers in South Africa face a very serious threat from one of their staple foods.
The results have the biotechnology industry spin doctors, and those of Monsanto in particular, on high alert to refute evidence that GMOs could cause cancer and have serious impacts on liver and kidney functioning. The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) supported by several organisations and members of the South African public are calling for an immediate ban on the import and cultivation of the maize in question: Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready Maize NK603. The South African government stands alone in the international community in allowing its populations’ staple food to be genetically modified, placing South African consumers at particular risk from this GM maize.
Typically, studies to test the impact of consuming GM foods are carried out over a very short period of time-a mere 90 day period-by the developers of GMOs, on laboratory animals. These industry tests always show that GMOs are safe. What is different about this new French study is that
Letter to Minister of Health requesting investigation into GM maize and associated pesticides as a result of French study.
South Africa is the only country that has allowed the genetic modification (GM) of its staple food – maize.
Elsewhere in the world this crop is grown primarily for the global livestock sector. However, in South Africa some 77% of our maize production is genetically modified and provides the nation with their daily intake of carbohydrates. The debate on the long term health impacts of GM foods has raged around the globe for almost 2 decades now and to date there is no scientific agreement on their safety. The United Nation’s Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is based on the Precautionary Principle in recognition of this lack of scientific knowledge and agreement. Our own GMO regulations, paraphrasing the Precautionary Principle set out in the 1992 Rio Declaration on the environment and development, stipulate that a lack of scientific knowledge or scientific consensus shall not be indicative of an absence of risk. Our GMO Act also allows the Executive Council to revise any decisions made in the light of new scientific evidence.
Open letter to Minister of Agriculture, SA for Immediate banning of all Roundup Ready maize from cultivation and import in South Africa
The ACB and several organisations and individuals have sent an open letter to
Ms. Tina Joemat-Pettersson Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for
the immediate banning of all RR maize in SA following the release of the
Seralini NK603 study (“French Study of GMOs on rats”)