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African civil society slams Monsanto junk GM maize deal

Press Release by:  African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO), União Nacional de Camponeses (UNAC), Kenya Biodiversity Coalition (KBioC), Kenya Food Rights Alliance (KeFRA), Eastern and Southern African Small-Scale Farmers Forum Uganda (ESAFF, Uganda)

19 June 2015 Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam, Maputo, Nairobi, Kampala

Non-governmental and farmer organizations from South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda strongly condemn the go-ahead given by the South African GMO authorities for Monsanto to commercially sell its genetically modified (GM) “drought tolerant” maize seed for cultivation in South Africa. According to the groups, there is no evidence showing that the drought tolerant trait even works. According to Mariam Mayet of the ACB, “the GM maize (MON87460) has not undergone proper risk assessment anywhere in the world and has no history of safe use. South Africans who are already being force-fed with old risky GM traits will now be subject to an utterly new foreign, untested and risky transgene in their daily food.”

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Stop Seed Laws that Criminalise Farmers & Defend Local Seeds!

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Seeds are under attack everywhere. Under corporate pressure, laws in many countries increasingly put limitations on what farmers can do with their seeds and with the seeds they buy. Seed saving, a thousand-year-old old practice which forms the basis of farming, is fast becoming criminalised. What can we do about this?

DEFEND FARMERS’ OWN SEED SYSTEMS

Farmers’ fields are the first line of defense against bad seed laws. This means organising to rescue, collect, maintain, develop, share and use local farmer’s seeds. It is very important that women and young people are all involved. You can start a project with neighbours or local associations, talk to market or street vendors, get schools or you work place involved, etc. Seed fairs and visits to farms and gardens are an important part of this work.

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New publication - Seed laws that criminalise farmers: resistance and fightback

La Via Campesina | GRAIN

Media release - 8 April 2015

For immediate release

Seed laws booklet EN COVER.jpgPeasant seeds – the pillar of food production – are under attack everywhere. Under corporate pressure, laws in many countries increasingly limit what farmers can do with their seeds. Seed saving, which has been the basis of farming for thousands of years, is quickly being criminalised.

What can we do? A new booklet and poster from La Via Campesina and GRAIN documents how big business and governments are moving to stop farmers from saving and exchanging their seeds, and shows how farmers are fighting back.

Control over seeds must remain in peasants' hands. This is the principle, based in the production process, that guarantees the food sovereignty of rural communities and urban populations against multinationals and their enormous profits. Over centuries, peasant farmers have created the thousands of varieties of crops that are the basis of the world's food supply and diversified diets, says La Via Campesina's Guy Kastler.

But for corporations who want to impose laws that will give them complete control of land, farming, food and the profits that could be made from this sector, these time-tested practices around seeds are an obstacle.

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European Commission carries on with the eradication of agricultural biodiversity

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_Paysanne_2014_EU.jpegPress Release

The European Commission carries on with the eradication of agricultural biodiversity.

Aiguillon, 16th December 2014.

The European Commission announced today to the European Parliament its decision to withdraw the reform concerning the regulation of the seed market (or Plant Reproductive Material law). In doing so, the European Commission closes down the few openings proposed by the previous Commission which aimed at stopping the current and dreadful erosion of agricultural biodiversity. The right of farmers to exchange their seeds, the right for small enterprises (with a turnover of less than 2 million Euros) to commercialize all the available biodiversity without having to register it in the catalogue, and also the opening of the catalogue to seeds that are less standardized, synonymous of less standardized food : all those openings are shelved.

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