Tag Archive: USA


The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) is relieved to learn that Monsanto has withdrawn its application to conduct GM canola field trails in South Africa.

GM Canola is predominantly grown in the USA, Canada and Australia. The global market for GM canola, used principally for cooking oils and animal feed, is estimated to be worth $300 million.

The ACB objected to Monsanto‘s field trial application in September 2009 when the ACB raised serious concerns that the field trials would pose unacceptable environmental risks, including gene flow into wild populations. The South African biosafety authorities were of a similar opinion, and twice requested that Monsanto provide additional biosafety information. Monsanto‘s decision to withdraw its application clearly indicates it could not provide sufficient safety assurances.

A recent study by the University of Arkansas in the US corroborates these fears. In North Dakota, (a large GM canola growing area), 80% of the wild canola plants studied have developed herbicide resistance by crossing with GM varieties. Studies in both Canada and Japan have come to similar conclusions. Although GM Canola is not grown in Japan, transgenic oil seed rape, a close relative of canola was found in areas

New GM Potato Book: Executive Summary

In 2001, the South African Agricultural Research Council (ARC) began conducting field trials with potatoes genetically modified to contain a Bt gene Cry1Ia1 (formerly BtCryV). This novel gene is intended to protect the plants and potato tubers from infestations of the Potato tuber moth (Phthorimaea operculella).

This research is not home grown or ‘truly South African‘. The ARC is part of an international consortium, which includes the Michigan State University (MSU), the International Potato Centre in Peru and gene giant, Syngenta. Syngenta has quietly been cornering the GM food potato market; lodging a stream of patents in the USA and other countries for a form of terminator (GURTS) technology that prevents potatoes from sprouting unless they are treated with chemicals supplied by the patent owner.

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Nairobi based African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and Monsanto are set to introduce genetically engineered cowpeas in the coming years into the fields and tables of Africa. It will use Nigeria and Burkina Faso as key entry points, with Ghana, Cameroon, Niger and Mali comprising the second tier of countries that will be targeted. The project is assisted by Nigeria- based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), one of the 15 agricultural research institutes of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The CGIAR is funded primarily by the World Bank, the USA, Japan, the European Union and Canada. Indeed, the IITA has the mandate for cowpea research and is in the forefront of breeding high yielding varieties by using a range of genetic manipulation techniques to deal with biological constraints affecting crop yields and quality.

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