Media
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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Resources transferred from small-scale farmers to multinational agribusinesses in Malawi's Green Revolution PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Monday, 06 October 2014 16:39

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today released its research report based on field work conducted in Malawi, titled "Running to stand still: Small-scale farmers and the Green Revolution in Malawi." The research, conducted by the ACB in collaboration with the National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi (NASFAM), Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology and Dr Blessings Chinsinga from the University of Malawi, does not validate the argument that Malawi is a Green Revolution success story. On the contrary, the research highlights the plight of small-scale farmers at the receiving end of the Green Revolution (GR) push in Malawi. Among its findings are that farmers are trapped in a cycle of debt and dependency on costly external inputs with limited long-term benefit, and that the natural resource base is being degraded and eroded despite – or perhaps because of - GR inputs.

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Industry employing bullying tactics to scupper GM food labelling in South Africa PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Friday, 01 August 2014 14:11

GM-Labeling-zebraThe Biotech industry continues to stall the implementation of a GMO labelling regime, claiming that only a "lunatic fringe" or a "European funded lobby" want it, despite government's clear intentions in the Consumer Protection Act to grant the consumer's right to know and to choose. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has re-opened the public comment period for submissions on the amended GMO labelling regulations until 15 August 2014. Submissions can be made to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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ALLIANCE FOR FOOD SOVEREIGNTY IN AFRICA: MEDIA BRIEFING AFSA APPEALS TO ARIPO, AU AND UNECA FOR PROTECTION OF FARMERS’ RIGHTS & RIGHT TO FOOD PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 15:17
Addis Ababa
afsa-logoThe Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), a Pan African platform comprising civil society networks and farmer organisations working towards food sovereignty in Africa, has today lodged an urgent appeal to the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to urgently revise the draft ARIPO Plant Variety Protection Protocol, recognise farmers’ rights and facilitate the right to food. AFSA is requesting that such revision be based on a broader consultation process with farmer organisations and experts from outside of the plant breeders’ rights sector.

African civil society organisations, many of them members of AFSA, made submissions to ARIPO on its draft Plant Variety Protection (PVP) law and policies in November 2012. AFSA has itself submitted comments on ARIPO’s Response to Civil Society: Draft Legal Framework for Plant Variety Protection, March 2014. In both submissions, several serious concerns were raised about the law, which later was titled “the draft ARIPO Plant Variety Protection Protocol”, being based on UPOV 1991 (the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants), a restrictive and inflexible legal regime focused solely on promoting and protecting the rights of commercial breeders that develop genetically uniform seeds/plant varieties suited to mechanised large-scale mono-cropping agriculture systems. Of particular concern, is that the draft ARIPO PVP Protocol renders the centuries-old African farmers’ practices of freely using, exchanging and selling seeds/propagating material illegal and undermines the right to food.
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Below the belt, below the breadline – South Africa’s inequitable and GM contaminated bread industry PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 18:55

acbio-petitionThe African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today brought into sharp focus the white bread industry in South Africa with the release of its new report ‘GM Contamination, Cartels and Collusion in South Africa’s Bread Industry.’ The report shows that the white bread tested contains high levels of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) soya in the soya flour used in the bread and that most companies are unashamedly flouting GM labelling laws and undermining the consumer’s right to know. The nation consumes about 2.8 billion loaves of bread a year, handing over more than R28 billion of their hard-earned cash to a cartel comprising Tiger Brands, Premier Foods, Pioneer Foods and Foodcorp, that controls the wheat-to-bread value chain. Roughly a quarter of South Africans live below the bread line and price fluctuations in bread – our second most important staple food after maize – has hit the poor the hardest.

 

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