Why is it important that South Africa take part in this Assembly?
Seed Freedom – “People’s Assemblies for the Future of our Food and Future of Our Planet are self-organised events aimed at placing criminal corporations that threaten the health of our planet under a public trial. At any level; in communities, villages, towns, regions and countries, people are taking stock of the harm caused by Monsanto and other similar corporations to our environment, public health, scientific and regulatory independence and to our freedom and democracy. People’s Assemblies also aim at laying out a collective vision and participatory planning at a local level towards the GMO free, poisons free, fossil fuels free, patent free, “free trade“- free, corporate control free future we want and are shaping.”
Specific to South Africa
We are the only Country in the world who’s staple diet is Roundup Ready or BT – GMO – Maize
Our communities are areal sprayed with toxic herbicides in the attempt to eradicate cannabis plants, resulting in loss of animals, food plants, polluted water and chronic health issues – ecocide and a crime against humanity
Our local small scale farmers have lost their generation seeds due to contamination – What happened to our farmers rights?
Monopoly of our seed and food supply due to patenting and ownership of our precious recource – seed and life.
Loss of bees and biodiversity due to glyphosate based herbicides
Drough resitant GMO field trials and fear of more contamination – thousands have said no
Cancer stats rise in South Africa – CANSA links Glyphoste – active ingredient in Monsantos herbicide, Roundup
The two aspects that should be addressed are:
1. Identify the harm Monsanto and co. have done in your local community and region. The role of Monsanto and its products in your area – Roundup, GMOs, Patents and Royalties, genetic contamination, attack on scientists, corruption of officials and elected representatives, dismantling and deregulating laws for safety and farmers’ rights to seed. Hold a public trial of the corporate criminals destroying our species, biodiversity, our health, the health of our children, our democracy.
2. Identify the initiatives in your area that people are taking to create poison free, GMO free, patent free, fossil fuel free, corporate control free local food systems and local food communities in your area, including initiatives for seed saving, organic farming, urban and school gardens, local farmers markets, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), ethical purchasing groups, etc…
Chart the vision you have for a GMO free, chemical free future, as well as a vision for Seed Freedom and Food Freedom for 2020 and a transition plan on how to get there. If you wish, form discussion groups, create kids’ and adults’ drawings, vision boards, and artworks.
Create a people’s alliance to continue the democratic process to stop the war criminals in our food systems and create a non violent, healthy and abundant food system. Sow the seeds of Life, Sow the seeds of Freedom.
Research paper by the African Centre for Biodiversity
Today the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) released a new report ?Africa bullied to grow defective Bt Maize: the failure of Monsanto?s MON810 maize in South Africa?i, showing how Monsanto?s GMmaize, which utterly failed in SA, is now being foisted on the rest of the continent, through ?sleight of hand?.
Independent scientists have shown that Monsanto?s GM maize variety, MON810 ? which has been growing in SA for 15 years ? has completely failed due to the development of massive insect resistance, leading to the GM maize being withdrawn from the SA market. Monsanto has compensated farmers who were forced to spray their crops with pesticides to control the pests, calling into serious question the very rationale for GM crops.
According to the Director of the ACB, Mariam Mayet, ?Monsanto got the science completely wrong on this one. Independent biosafety scientists have discovered that the inheritance of resistance in African stem borers is a dominant, not recessive, trait as erroneously assumed. Hence the insect resistance management strategies that Monsanto developed, and accepted by our regulators, based on these erroneous assumptions, were utterly ineffective.?
Undeterred, Monsanto is now pushing its flop GM maize onto the rest of the continent. According to the ACB report, Monsanto has now donated its MON810 GM technology ?royalty-free? to a Gates Foundation/Monsanto funded ?philanthropic? project, Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA).WEMA is being rolled out in Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The defective GM maize is set to be approved for commercial growing by 2015.
WEMA was first touted for a good number of years, with much fanfare, as a charitable project intent on bringing drought tolerant maize varieties to resource poor African small farmers. However, with a sleight of hand and stony silence, WEMA has included MON810 into the mix. Field trials withMON810 are already running in Kenya and Uganda. In response to the project, the Mozambican government is now changing its biosafety laws to allow for the cultivation of GM crops while WEMA is pressurising the Tanzanian government to change the country?s biosafety law that will hold Monsanto strictly liable for damages that may arise.
According to researcher with the ACB, Haidee Swanby, ?WEMA is a convenient vehicle for Monsanto to gain regulatory approval for its controversial technology in African countries. However, ?royalty-free? seed simply means that resource strapped commercial farmers will get the seed at the same price as hybrid seed, which means that these seeds will be prohibitively expensive. The patents on the gene sequences still reside with Monsanto, and farmers will have to pay premium prices for theGM seeds.?
The ACB report also highlights that Monsanto?s MON810 GM trait has been genetically engineered into a local Egyptian maize variety called Ajeeb. ?Ajeeb Yieldgard? has now been patented by Monsanto and ?approved? for commercial growing through circumvention of the Egyptian biosafety law. Significantly, the report highlights that the Egyptian government has published peer reviewed independent and publically funded biosafety studies on MON810 showing serious risks to human and animal health.
Said Swanby, ?The scariest revelation is that GM producers and regulatory authorities are making it all up as they go along, while the massive biotech PR machinery spreads the myth that these crops are connected to feeding the poor in Africa.?
Download the full report.
Haidee Swanby 082 459 8548
Mariam Mayet 083 269 4309