In a totally unexpected move, the newly appointed Tanzania Agricultural Minister, Prof Adolf Mkenda, in mid-January 2021 announced the cancellation of research trials involving genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the country and the decision to put in place extra biosafety scrutiny of imported genetically modified (GM) seed. The decision was taken by the Minister in order to conserve the country’s genetic resources and local seed.
On 2 June, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) submitted commentary on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) as it relates to food and agriculture, to a discussion hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). Our concerns centred around three areas: the kind of food systems that in its current form the AfCFTA will most likely lead to; the problem of democratic accountability and transparency and what it means for who gets to define the food and agriculture related outcomes of the Free Trade Area; and concerns around the development of Intellectual Property Protocol as it relates to food and agriculture.
We are pleased to present the third discussion paper in our “Multiple Shocks in Africa Series”.
Africa is being hit by multiple shocks: COVID-19, locust plagues sweeping across many African countries, droughts and cyclones, fall armyworms (FAW) marching their way through millions of hectares of maize fields, and the already felt impact of the climate crisis on Africa’s agriculture systems. And all of this is happening in a context of deepening inequality, poverty, unemployment and hunger in numerous countries on the continent.