African Centre for Biodiversity www.acbio.org.za
PO Box 29170, Melville 2109 South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)11 486 1156
cope with drought and rising food prices, we need to urgently move
away from genetically modified food and towards indigenous African
crops. So warns the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).
“We need to urgently shift away from maize towards embracing a diversity
of crops – particularly indigenous African summer grain crops such
as sorghum and millet – and agro ecology,” says ACB director, Mariam
with World Food Day, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), has
released an important report. It is called “Transitioning out of GM
maize: towards nutrition security, climate adaptation, agro-ecology
and social justice.”
makes a compelling case for South Africa to urgently transition out
of GM maize production, to systems that are socially just, ecologically
sustainable and provide nutrition security for a rapidly urbanising
population in the face of the current crippling drought.
to Mariam Mayet, Director of the ACB, “South Africa is at a crossroads:
either it must abandon Monsanto’s GM maize including its bogus drought
tolerant GM maize seed or face an economic, social and ecological
report shows that the current maize production system is unsustainable
for a number of ecological and economic reasons:
on genetically modified (GM) maize to provide a staple food and
animal feed has resulted in huge production losses: the current
(2015-16) maize crop is the smallest harvested since 2006/7 (7.125
million tonnes). South Africa will need to import 5 million tonnes
of maize between May 2016 and April 2017. Food prices have burgeoned
at a 40% year on year increase.
yields, increased imports, and a depreciating rand have mean huge
financial risks for commercial maize farmers. Debt levels have reached
record highs. Skyrocketing food prices impact on poor consumers.
the merger between Bayer and Monsanto should go through, monopolies
in seed and chemicals means less choice for farmers and consumers.
Cartels will control the price of GM maize seed.
46% of South African households go hungry every day. An estimated
one in five children in South Africa is stunted, while over 50%
of South African women are overweight and obese due to on cheap,
climate change, maize is fast becoming an inappropriate crop except
in parts of the Eastern Cape. Here extensive GM maize plantations
Lewis, author of the report strongly argues that “South Africa must
strengthen agricultural biodiversity and dietary diversity.”
report sets out steps that we must adopt on the path to the transition:
both large and small scale farmers and use of safe, open source
and appropriate technologies.
more resources for public research and extension services and move
towards “agro ecology” (farming in harmony with nature).
in research and development, using participatory breeding techniques
of farmer varieties and improved open pollinated varieties (OPVs),
for drought tolerance, and other useful traits, and look at naturally
drought tolerant, indigenous summer grains such as sorghum and millet.
away from the focus on high-yielding crops with high calorie content,
to a diverse range of foods that are accessible, affordable, produced
in ecologically sustainable ways and are culturally appropriate.
the ability of farmers and processors to improve food, energy and
a copy of the full report please click here: http://acbio.org.za/transitioning-out-of-gm-maize-current-drought-is-an-opportunity-for-a-more-resilient-and-just-food-system/
Michelle Nel on behalf of the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)
083 208 7902 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Linzi Lewis 071 206 6477
Or Mariam Mayet: email@example.com