Tag Archive: Pioneer Hi-Bred

Peddling for Profits: Pioneer Hi-Bred’s redundant rootworm-resistant GM maize coming soon to South Africa

In this briefing, we show how SA?s biosafety regulatory system favours profits over sound biosafety practise as the regulators have authorised field trials of a GM maize variety to combat a pest, the corn root worm that does not exist in SA at all and will not, for 100 years!!

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The Pioneer/Pannar seed merger: deepening structural inequalities in South Africa


In this briefing, we deal with the Pioneer/Pannar seed merger, outlining the evidence led by the ACB in opposing the merger, what is at stake for South Africa if the merger is approved and the extent to which the merger will deepen structural imbalances in the South African economy.

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Smallholder farmers and consumers to pay the price for corporate seed merger

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) learned today that US multi-national seed company Pioneer Hi-Bred has been granted permission by the Competition Appeal Court, to acquire the nation’s last major independent seed company, Pannar seed. The ACB was an intervening party, opposing the merger in the public interest.

In granting the merger, the court has not only ensured the further consolidation of private ownership over our seed systems, but crucially, it has sanctioned the concentration of germplasm in the hands of a small number of multinational corporations. This will exacerbate the existing situation whereby farmers are becoming irreversibly disconnected from breeding processes and converted into mere consumers of what they originally collectively produced.

A key issue in the merger is Pioneer’s fervent desire to take control of locally adapted germplasm that Pannar holds – germplasm that existed and was used in Africa long before Pioneer or Pannar existed.

One of the conditions of the merger is a R20 million fund to “increase the productivity, knowledge and welfare of small-scale and developing farmers”. But this is no more than public relations. “As long as smallholders themselves are only passive recipients of largesse from the corporations, and the companies determine

South Africa’s Seed Systems: Challenges for food sovereignty

The African Centre for Biosafety and Trust for Community Outreach and Education, have the pleasure of sharing with you, our new study, which provides an overview of the structure of the seed system in South Africa, the types of seed in use and their pros and cons, the legislative and policy environment, and the role of the public sector in seed production and distribution in South Africa. It aims to identify the trends in the seed sector and consider possible points of intervention to advance the agenda of strengthening small-scale resource-poor farmers in control over and access to appropriate seed for seed sovereignty, which sits at the heart of food sovereignty.

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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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Bad News!! SA approves GM rice, barrage of new GM maize varieties for import

The South African GMO authorities have approved Bayer CropScience’s GM rice, Event LL62 for import into South Africa. LL62 has also been approved for commercial growing in the United States and for import into Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

South Africa is a net importer of several varieties of rice, which it imports from around the world. It also re-exports rice to a large number of African countries. During the 2009/10 marketing year, SA‘s rice imports increased by 35% to 788, 104 tons. Although around 70% of SA‘s rice is currently imported from Thailand but SA does import rice from the US.

Rice is the staple food for half the world’s population and provides more calories than any other single food, about 90% from carbohydrates and 10% from protein. Bayer’s application before the SA authorities was for the import of GM rice grain for food and feed use with parboiled milled rice being the main rice commodity to be imported. The rice has been genetically engineered to confer resistance to glufosinate ammonium.

The African Centre for Biosafety, (ACB) supported by a large number of groups and individuals objected to the approval of

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.




Johannesburg, Sunday 21st August 2011

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) welcomes the decision made by the Competition Tribunal on 19 August 2011, to allow the ACB to intervene in the merger proceedings involving multinational seed giant, Pioneer Hi Bred’s bid to take over South Africa‘s largest seed company, Panaar. The ACB, represented by Legal Aid South Africa, and advocates Stephen Budlender and Isabel Goodman, has consistently sought to lead evidence and present argument on public interest grounds that militate against authorisation of the merger.

The ACB argued in its intervention application heard before the Tribunal on the 12th August 2011, that the proposed merger would result in the concentration of market share in the maize seed industry in only two large commercial entities, namely Pioneer and Monsanto with concomitant negative consequences for small holder farmers and consumers. Such concentration, the ACB argued, would lead effectively to the creation of a duopoly with dire consequences for food security of the country in particular and the region as a whole as well as on the viability of small scale farmers. The ACB is extremely grateful for

Competition Commission rejects Pioneer Hi Bred seed takeover

Media Advisory from the African Centre for Biosafety
Johannesburg, 8th December 2010.

The African Centre for Biosafety applauds the decision of the Competition Commission not to approve the take-over of Pannar Seed, South Africa‘s largest seed company, by the multinational corporation and seed giant, Pioneer Hi-Bred, a subsidiary of the DuPont chemical company.

The ACB has been monitoring the proposed merger since it was first announced in September 2010, and has made multiple submissions to the Commission opposing the merger.

The decision is a significant one as it keeps over 50 years of plant breeding experience and expertise in South African hands and puts the brakes on increased corporate concentration within the South African agricultural seed sector.

The ACB urges the Competition Commission to fully investigate the inordinately powerful and dominant position that Monsanto occupies in South Africa‘s agricultural markets.

Mariam Mayet

To view ACB’s submissions, please see www.biosafetyafrica.org.za