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  • edited by Anuradha Mittal with Melissa Moore

    AfricAn fArMers And environMentAlists speAk out AgAinst A new green revolution in AfricA

    Voices from AfricA

  • Voices from AfricA AfricAn fArMers And environMentAlists speAk out AgAinst A new green revolution in AfricA

    edited by Anuradha Mittal with Melissa Moore

    The Oakland Institute | P.O. Box 18978, Oakland, CA 94619 | oaklandinstitute.org

  • Acknowledgements

    We are grateful to the authors and organizations for giving us permission to use the articles in this report.

    This publication was supported by grants to the Oakland Institute from Domitila Barrios de Chungara Fund, the Further Foundation, Grassroots International, the Panta Rhea Foundation, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, Peter Rasmussen and Wei Zhang of the He-Shan World Fund (Tides Foundation), and the Vervane Foundation. Our deepest appreciation to Lionel Derencourt at the Presbyterian Hunger Program and Nikhil Aziz at Grassroots International for supporting this work. We also want to acknowledge our individual members whose valuable support makes our work possible.

    The recommendations and views expressed in this report are those of the Oakland Institute and the authors, and do not necessarily represent those of the funders.

    Copyeditor: Melissa Moore

    Design: Amymade Graphic Design, amymade@gmail.com

    Photograph Credits: We are grateful to Aksel Nærstad of the Development Fund, Norway; Grassroots International; and IFAD for photos used in this report.

    Cover Photo: Seed Sovereignty: Farmers display seeds from around the world at the Nyéléni World Forum for Food Sovereignty 2007. Photo Courtesy of Grassroots International.

    Copyright © 2009 by The Oakland Institute

    The text may be used free of charge for the purposes of advocacy, campaigning, education, and research, provided that the source is acknowledged in full. The copyright holder requests that all such use be registered with them for impact assessment purposes. For copying in any other circumstances, or for re-use in other publications, or for translation or adaptation, permission must be secured. Please email info@oaklandinstitute.org.

    Note This report uses various phrases and acronyms including genetically engineered (GE), genetically modified (GM), and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to describe genetic engineering and genetically engineered crops.

  • Table of contents

    introduction ................................................................................................................................................ 1

    PArT one: promoting genetic engineering in Africa: who stands to Benefit? ..........................................9

    Africa’s wealth of seed diversity and farmer knowledge under threat from the gates/rockefeller “green revolution” initiative ............................................................................ 10 Statement from African Civil Society Organizations, World Social Forum, Kenya, 2007

    gMos do not Address the needs or concerns of African farmers ............................................................11 by Ibrahima Coulibaly, President of the Coordination Nationale des Organisations Paysannes du Mali (CNOP), Mali

    the new green revolution in Africa: A trojan Horse for gMos ................................................................13 by Mariam Mayet, African Centre for Biosafety, South Africa

    AgrA—A Blunt philanthropic Arrow........................................................................................................... 16 by Nnimmo Bassey, Environmental Rights Action, Nigeria

    PArT Two: twisting Arms: efforts to convert Africa to ge Meet with civil society and farmer resistance ..................................................................................................................................... 18

    is Africa Being Bullied into growing gM crops? ......................................................................................... 19 by David Fig, BioWatch, South Africa

    the introduction of genetically Modified crops in Africa ............................................................................20 by Nnimmo Bassey, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria

    African food sovereignty or AgrA? .............................................................................................................24 by Mukoma Wa Ngugi, BBC Focus on Africa Magazine

    thika declaration on gMos ..........................................................................................................................26 Statement issued at the Kenya Small-Scale Farmers Forum, August 20, 2004

    editorial: How safe are gM foods? .............................................................................................................27 Daily Nation, Kenya

    statement by civil society on Biotech ecowAs conference .....................................................................28 Issued at Bamako, Mali, 2005

  • PArT Three: turning the tide Against ge in Africa ............................................................................................................ 29

    Are new technologies an Answer to the needs of small-scale farmers? ................................................... 30 by Makhathe Moahloli, Katleho Moho Association (KMA), Lesotho

    what kind of Aid does Africa need? not dumping of food or industrial Agriculture .............................32 by Diamantino Nhampossa, União Nacional de Camponeses UNAC (National Peasants Union), Mozambique

    twelve reasons for Africa to reject gM crops ............................................................................................ 34 by Zachary Makanya, Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Association (PELUM), Kenya

    Hands off our food! .......................................................................................................................................37 by Gertrude Kenyangi Kabusimbi, Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN), Uganda

    African communities Must Have the right to reject gMos ....................................................................... 38 Communiqué issued at the Regional Conference on Biosafety, Nigeria, 2006

    resources ....................................................................................................................................................... 39

    Food Sovereignty Banner, Nyéléni World Forum for Food Sovereignty 2007 Credit: Photo Courtesy of Grassroots International

  • Voices from AfricA | 1The Oakland Institute

    conveying a false sense of need In June 2008, the United Nations held a High-Level Con- ference on Food Security that gained much prominence in the midst of the food crisis and became a key venue to promote genetically engineered food as a solution to world hunger.

    At a United States-led briefing on the sidelines of the con- ference, Ed Schafer, the former U.S. Agriculture Secretary under George W. Bush, urged genetically-modified organ- isms (GMOs) are key to producing more food by rais- ing yields and growing disease and pest-resistant crops in developing nations. Gaddi Vasquez, the U.S. ambas- sador to the FAO in Rome, also promoted GM crops as one of the most promising ways to increase crop yields. The Bush Administration even managed to sneak GMOs into the U.S. aid package to ease the world food crisis; the U.S. Agency for International Development was directed to earmark $150 million of aid for development farming, which includes the use of GM crops.

    Yet, months before this U.N. conference an independent and multi-stakeholder assessment of agriculture conclud- ed that a radical change was needed in agriculture around the world. The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) issued a report, backed by 58 governments, which concluded that agriculture policy and practice must be changed to address hunger and poverty, social ineq-

    uities, and environmental sustainability. The report high- lighted the lingering doubts and uncertainties surround- ing GMOs and held that GM crops are unlikely to play a substantial role in addressing the needs of poor farmers, as the biotechnology industry dominates agricultural re- search and development at the expense of other agricul- tural sciences.

    Despite the overwhelming opposition to genetic engineer- ing and chemical-input based agriculture, the biotech in- dustry—with assistance from rich donor nations, multilat- eral institutions, and the philanthropic community—has used the food price crisis to gain support for GM crops. The result of the biotech industry’s well-financed publicity blitz based on “green washing” (biotech is environmen- tally friendly) and “poor washing” (we must accept ge- netic engineering to increase yields to end hunger, reduce costs, and improve livelihoods of farmers), have been calls for a “new” Green Revolution, especially in Africa.

    AgrA: Main driver for a new green revolution for Africa “They [African farmers] need a revolution in policies that will address the underlying long-term problems they face. …The time for bringing forth a Green Revolution for Africa is now.”

    —Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Vice President for Policy and Part- nerships, AGRA, at a conference on hunger in Dublin

    introduction by Anuradha Mittal

    Chronic hunger affects hundreds of millions of people worldwi