African Centre for Biosafety
AGRA’s scandalous subsidisation of big fertiliser, financial and agribusiness corporations in Africa PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 11:39
AFAP-reportIn a scandalous move of skulduggery, the African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), under the guise of empowering smallholder farmers in Africa, is subsidising multinational fertiliser and financial corporations on African soil. Other beneficiaries of this scheme are the global grain trading and food processing giants.

AFAP, established in 2012, with a grant of US $25 million from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)-the biggest grant given to a single recipient by AGRA so far- is ostensibly working towards ensuring that African smallholder farmers grow food and profits. However, according to a new report from the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB)—The African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP): The missing link in Africa’s Green Revolution—AFAP’s main focus is the provision of credit guarantees to importers and distributors of fertilisers in Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania.


“In essence, AFAP is using development funds, as well as money from the Ethiopian government—one of the least developed countries in the world—to subsidise multinational fertiliser companies such as Yara, which dominates the fertiliser trade in Africa. This also extends to large multinational banks such as the Standard Bank Group, Barclays and the Dutch firm Rabobank, who are queuing up to extend credit to Africa’s small-scale farmers. Far from enabling African smallholder farmers to grow food and profits, this scam will trap small- scale farmers into a never ending cycle of debt and increasing poverty,” said Gareth Jones, a researcher with the ACB.

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RAILROADING AFRICAN GOVTS INTO ADOPTING ARIPO PVP PROTOCOL BASED ON UPOV 1991: AFSA APPEALS TO ARIPO MEMBER STATES FOR POSTPONEMENT OF DIPLOMATIC CONFERENCE AND FOR URGENT CONSULTATIONS WITH SMALL-HOLDER FARMERS PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Monday, 03 November 2014 16:01

AFSA_response_to_Harare_workshop_ARIPO_PVPAFSA attended a Regional Workshop on the ARIPO PVP Protocol, 29-31 October 2014, in Harare Zimbabwe, where numerous technical and administrative flaws continue to characterise the process. In particular, member states were forced into accepting a recommendation, disguised as if crafted by them, mandating ARIPO to urgently organize and call for the Diplomatic Conference for the adoption of the Protocol. In reality, member states, instead, unanimously endorsed the need for further consultations to be held at national levels and independent expert review of the draft ARIPO PVP Protocol and that talk of a Diplomatic Conference to adopt the Protocol is hopelessly premature.

 

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Acquisition of Africa’s SeedCo by Monsanto, Groupe Limagrain: Neo-colonial occupation of Africa’s seed systems PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 07:59
Addis Ababa

afsa-logoThe Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) is deeply concerned about the recent acquisitions by multi-national seed companies of large parts of SeedCo, one of Africa’s largest home-grown seed companies. Attracting foreign investment from the world’s largest seed companies, most of who got to their current dominant positions by devouring national seed companies and their competitors through mergers and acquisitions, is an inevitable consequence of the fierce drive to commercialise agriculture in Africa.

The deals in question involve French seed giant Groupe Limagrain, the largest seed and plant breeding company in the European Union, who has invested up to US$60 million for a 28% stake in SeedCo. In another transaction, SeedCo has agreed to sell 49% of its shares in Africa’s only cottonseed company, Quton, to Mahyco of India. Mahyco is 26% owned by Monsanto and has 50:50 joint venture with the gene-giant to sub-license its genetically modified (GM) bt cotton traits throughout India. Interestingly, Mahyco also specialises in hybrid cotton varieties, unlike Quton, who also produces open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) of cottonseed.

These acquisitions follow close on the heels of Swiss biotech giant Syngenta’s take-over in 2013 of Zambian seed company MRI Seed, whose maize germplasm collection was said at the time to be amongst Africa’s most comprehensive and diverse. Taken together, this means that three of the world’s largest biotechnology companies, Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta, all now have a significant foothold on the continent in markets for two of the three major global GM crop varieties: maize and cotton.
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Running to Stand Still: Small-Scale Farmers and the Green Revolution in Malawi PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Monday, 06 October 2014 16:04

Malawi-report

According to ACB’s lead researcher, Dr Stephen Greenberg, “our research found that small-scale farmers are using shockingly high levels ofsynthetic fertilisers at great financial costs to themselves and the publicpurse. Rising soil infertility is a feature of farming systems reliant on synthetic fertiliser. We found that farmers are increasingly adopting hybrid maize seed, encouraged by government subsidies and the promise of massive yields. However, adoption of these hybrid seeds comes at the cost of abandoning diversity and resilience of local seed varieties, and the ever escalating requirement for synthetic fertilisers. Indeed, our findings show net transfers away from farming households to agribusinesses such as SeedCo, Pannar (recentlymerged with Pioneer Hi-Bred), Monsanto and Demeter in the commercial seed industry. For fertiliser, the major fertiliser producers and distributors are Farmers World (which also owns Demeter seed), Yara, TansGlobe, Omnia and Rab Processors.”

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View our press Release "Resources transferred from small-scale farmers to multinational agribusinesses in Malawi's Green Revolution".

 
The political economy of Africa’s burgeoning chemical fertiliser rush PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Monday, 15 September 2014 07:43

Fertilizer-report-20140915The African Centre for Biosafety has today released an in-depth report, The Political Economy of Africa’s burgeoning chemical fertiliser rush, which looks at the role of fertiliser in the Green Revolution push in Africa, some of the key present and future fertiliser trends on the continent and the major players involved in this.

The value of the global fertiliser industry is immense. In 2012 the global sales of NPK fertilisers alone were over US$200 billion, compared to a total global pesticide market of US$75 billion. Though Africa accounts for only around 1.6% of global consumption, discoveries of huge deposits of natural gas around the continent (a key fertiliser ingredient) is expected to result in a flurry of fertiliser plant construction, the costs of which are likely to run in the billions of dollars.

In parallel developments, the promotion of fertiliser use in Africa is a core component of the new Green Revolution push on the continent. This is most clearly articulated by the Abuja Declaration of 2006, which called for average fertiliser use across the continent to increase for 8kg per ha to 50kg per ha by 2015. In the interim, numerous initiatives have place increasing fertiliser use (particularly by small-holder farmers) at the centre of their activities, including the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Grow Africa and the G8 New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition. The global fertilise industry, directly through the Norwegian giant Yara, and indirectly through industry bodies such as the International Fertiliser Development Centre, are heavily involved in these processes.

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