Tag Archive: Tanzania

Africa’s Granary Plundered Privatisation of Tanzanian Sorghum Protected by the Seed Treaty

By Edward Hammond December 2009.

A gene recently isolated from a Tanzanian farmers’ variety of sorghum may yield tremendous pro?ts for multinational companies and government researchers in the United States and Brazil. Called SbMATE, it is not only useful in sorghum; but also may be used in other crops, including genetically engineered (GE) maize, wheat, and rice as well as GE tree plantations.
Government researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) and the Texas A&M University (US) have patented the gene in the US. They have also ?led an international patent application in which they state that they will seek patents on the Tanzanian gene across the world, including in Africa.
The commercial potential of the gene is strong. Although it was only recently identi?ed, the giant multinational Dow Chemical is already negotiating with the US government to license it. Japan’s second largest paper products company has also expressed interest in buying access to it.

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Revised African Model Law Biosafety Strategy Briefing June 2009

Haidee Swanby of the African Centre for Biosafety attended a meeting hosted by the African Union during May 2009 in Arusha, Tanzania on various biosafety initiatives of importance to the continent.

In this briefing paper Haidee discusses the meeting and the issues and challenges lying ahead for the continent.

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Tanzania – GMO Legislation

THE NATIONAL BIOSAFETY GUIDELINES FOR TANZANIA

According to the Minister of State in the Vice President’s office-Environment, the Honourable Mr Ntagazwa, the Biosafety Guidelines are meant to “facilitate the importation and use of GMOs and their products in Tanzania“. Indeed, the Guidelines, which pay a great deal of attention to scientific details, establish a non-legally binding, voluntary framework for the introduction of GMOs into Tanzania. This framework is meant to compliment and mutually support national policies and legislation. The Guidelines also appear to be of a temporary nature in that one of its primary objectives is to “encourage and assist the establishment of an appropriate national regulatory framework”. It is unknown why the Tanzanian government has not chosen to draft legally binding regulations instead of opting for non-binding guidelines.

The Guidelines are made up of 105 pages, comprising of a bundle of measures: non-binding “regulatory” type measures that typify a permitting system for GMOs; extensive measures under the heading “Risk Management” dealing with different types of “containment procedures”; and ten annexes. The document is thus not only voluminous but may be quite intimidating to farmers and ordinary citizens in need of information.

It is beyond the