Tag Archive: South Africa

ACB’s Objection to Monsanto’s Application for Commodity Clearance of MON 87708 × MON 89788 × A5547-127 Triple-Stacked Herbicide Tolerant Soybean

ACB is objecting to the commodity clearance of the triple-stacked GM soybean event MON 87708 x MON 89788 x A5547-127, due to concerns surrounding the lack of safety assessment data for this crop and the known toxicity of the three pesticides it is designed to tolerate.

Its tolerance to three pesticides, glyphosate, glufosinate and dicamba will only increase the exposure of South African citizens to ever increasing amounts of chemicals in their food systems, while South African regulators are yet to fully establish legal limits for these chemical on our crops.

Under these circumstances, we urge the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to decline approval until these safety uncertainties have been adequately addressed.

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Comments on the Competition Amendment Bill 2017

ACB has responded to the Economic Development Department (EDD) call for comments on the Competition Amendment Bill 2017. The amendments aim to strengthen the powers of the competition authorities to proactively investigate and develop remedies to deconcentrate markets. Although we do not agree with EDD’s entire approach to concentration (for example, that concentration and economies of scale can have public interest benefits in the long term), we do agree that excessive concentration and racially-skewed ownership characterise the South African economy, and that it is a political imperative to redress these imbalances. Overall ACB supports the amendments and will work to ensure their implementation in practice.

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Celebrating smallholder farmers and seed diversity in South Africa: Report from the national seed dialogue and celebration

January 2018

On 8 and 9 December 2017 the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) hosted a national seed dialogue and celebration at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. Farmer representatives from eight provinces, along with civil society organisations, academics, and officials from the Agricultural Research Council and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) participated in cultural events and dialogues on current and emerging issues on smallholder farmers and seed diversity in South Africa.

A discussion on the political context highlighted the instability of the globalised corporate food system, and the possibilities and challenges for alternatives based on different systems of production and distribution to take root in material reality. A dialogue on current revisions to South Africa’s Plant Breeders’ Rights Act and Plant Improvement Act raised concerns about the exclusive commercial focus of the Acts and the marginalising impact they have on farmer seed systems and on agricultural biodiversity. In 2017 civil society and farmer associations raised their voices in public hearings and submissions. DAFF acknowledged the importance of popular participation and of agricultural biodiversity yet appears to be locked in an approach shaped by the interests of multinational corporations. Civil society has more work to do in 2018 to advocate

Call to public meeting on corporate seed Bills ahead of public hearing

The Plant Breeders’ Rights and Plant Improvement Bills restrict the saving, trading, exchanging, and sale of seed. This can have massive ramifications on seed and food sovereignty, agricultural biodiversity, access to diverse seed, and increasing the disparities and inequalities in South African agriculture, food and nutrition.

We urgently need to protect and preserve our food and seed sovereignty. It is in our best interests that we make our voices heard and retain what really is ours, which is the right to our food, the quality and control of our seed.

In preparation for the final public hearing on these bills, that is to take place in Bronkhorstpruit on the 12th August, ACB and Izindaba Zokudla will be holding a workshop to discuss the seed bills.

This is an opportunity to get your voices heard, and to participate meaningfully in the decision-making processes of our country! Spread the word!

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Declaration on Plant Variety Protection and Seed Laws from the South-South Dialogue

We, participants at the South-South Dialogue, are members of peasant and civil society organisations and concerned individuals from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe working on issues of food and seed sovereignty, peasants’ control of seed production and exchange, and biodiversity. We gathered in Durban, South Africa 27-29 November 2015 to share information and knowledge, and to come to a common understanding on seed and plant variety protection (PVP) policy and laws and strategies for resistance and alternatives in the global South.

English Report
Portuguese Report
Spanish Report
French Report

We are working in our countries and regions to advance the ongoing global struggle for socially just and ecologically sustainable societies, in which farming households and communities have control and decision-making power over the production and distribution of food and seed.

Human societies and the seeds we use to produce the food that sustains us have grown symbiotically over millennia. Seeds emerged from nature and have been diversified, conserved, nurtured and enhanced through processes of human experimentation, discovery and innovation throughout this time. Seeds have been improved by means of traditional and cultural knowledge transmitted from generation to generation. Seeds are therefore the collective

#GlyphosateMustFall

glyphosate-mustfall

The South African government needs to ban the use of glyphosate in our food system with immediate effect.

Glyphosate (most commonly known as RoundUp) is the most widely used herbicide in South Africa and its use has increased dramatically since the introduction of genetically modified maize, soya and cotton that has been engineered to survive being drenched with it. Glyphosate is also extensively used in wheat, viticulture, sugarcane and the timber industries.

The International Agency for Research into Cancer (IARC), which falls under the World Health Organisation (WHO), has recently classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen”; its continued use poses unacceptable risks to our health, the health of our families, farmers, farmers’ families, farm workers and society.

Please sign this petition and share it widely to demand a ban on glyphosate in our food system and to demand a commitment from government to transform our corporate controlled, chemical-laden food systems to a socially just agro-ecological food system.

ACB to battle SA Govt., Monsanto over controversial GM ‘drought tolerant’ maize

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has on 7th August 2015, lodged an appeal to Agriculture, Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Senzeni Zokwana, against the general release approval of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) maize, MON87460 granted by the Executive Council (EC): GMO Act. Such approval means that Monsanto can sell the GM maize seed, MON87460, to farmers in South Africa for cultivation.
MON87460 is alleged to be ‘drought tolerant;’ a claim the ACB vehemently disputes.
Administrative justice, procedural fairness and sound science to the test
The appeal is a test for administrative justice and procedural fairness in regard to GM decision-making in South Africa. Administrative decision-making must be based on rigorous food safety, environmental and socio-economic assessments of the potential adverse effects of MON87460, taking into international biosafety best practice.
According to the ACB, the EC’s approval is typical of GM decision-making, which simply reiterates and summarises information provided by Monsanto, who has a clear vested interest in the approval.  Such “rubber stamping” is unlawful. The EC is under a legal obligation to apply a risk averse and cautious approach, which takes into account uncertainties and the limits of current knowledge about the consequences of approving MON87460 for commercial

Cottoning onto the lie: GM cotton will harm not help small farmers in Africa

After 5 seasons of genetically modified (GM) cotton cultivation in Burkina Faso farmers are denouncing their contracts with Monsanto and cotton stakeholders are discussing compensation for losses incurred since 2008 due to low yields and low quality fibre. Many other African governments are poised to follow suit but should note how GM cotton has impoverished smallholders in South Africa and Burkina Faso as well as heed the fierce opposition on the continent toward accepting it.

English

Apres cinq saisons de culture de coton génétiquement modifié (GM) au Burkina Faso, les exploitants dénoncent leurs contrats avec Monsanto et les acteurs de la filière coton discutent actuellement des indemnités qu’ils comptent demander pour les pertes essuyées depuis 2008, en raison de faibles rendements et d’une fibre de mauvaise qualité. De nombreux pays africains sont sur le point de faire de même mais devraient prendre note de combien le coton GM a appauvri les petits exploitants en Afrique du Sud et au Burkina Faso. Ils devraient également tenir compte de l’opposition féroce au coton transgénique sur le continent avant de l’accepter sur leurs terres.

French

Agroecology in South Africa: policy and practice

The African Centre for Biosafety has prepared a discussion document on agroecology-related policy in South Africa, and included a few examples of agroecology practices in South Africa. We trust that this document will contribute to the recently launched Food Sovereignty Campaign and the progress of agroecology practice being made on the ground in South Africa.

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Manipulate and Mislead: How GMOs Are Infiltrating Africa

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The most persistent myth about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is that they are necessary to feed a growing global population. Highly effective marketing campaigns have drilled it into our heads that GMOs will produce more food on less land in an environmentally friendly manner. The mantra has been repeated so often that it is considered to be truth. Now this mantra has come to Africa, sung by the United States government and multinational corporations like Monsanto, seeking to open new markets for a product that has been rejected by so many others around the globe.

While many countries have implemented strict legal frameworks to regulate GMOs, African nations have struggled with the legal, scientific and infrastructural resources to do so. This has delayed the introduction of GMOs into Africa, but it has also provided the proponents of GMOs a plum opportunity to offer their assistance, in the process helping to craft laws on the continent that promote the introduction of barely regulated GMOs and create investor-friendly environments for agribusiness. Their line is that African governments must adopt GMOs as a matter of urgency to deal with hunger and that laws implementing pesky and expensive safety measures, or requiring assessments