Right People ~ Back to Work! Petitions to sign, emails to send, pages to bombard…

Right People ~ Back to Work! Petitions to sign, emails to send, pages to bombard! πŸ™‚ Let’s PURGE South Africa of GMOs & Agrichemicals! πŸ˜€

Please email your objections by Thursday 12/06/14 to:
The Department of Agriculture, GMO Registrar, Ms NL Mkhonza
Mr. Julian Jaftha, Director of Genetic Resources & Chair of GMO Executive Council
Fax Number: 012 319 6329

Or you can SHARE, COPY, PASTE & EMAIL this:
We recommend that the application in the Lowvelder (13 May 2014) for approval for trial release of 4 unnamed GM maize varieties engineered for abiotic stress tolerance and maize borers be rejected. The signatories of this objection believe that GMO technology is neither appropriate nor safe. We recommend that the government support the shift to sustainable agroecology and strongly object to the use of GMOs in South Africa for the following reasons:

Likelihood of Insect Resistance:
GM technology is failing. PLOS ONE published a study showing Dominant Inheritance of Bt resistance of the African corn borer, thus rendering the once useful Bacillus thuringiensis practically useless: ‘Dominant Inheritance of Field-Evolved Resistance to Bt Corn in Busseola fusca’ (2013) http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0069675

Low Potential of Genetic Modification for complex traits:
Monsanto has been dangling these frost- and drought- resistant traits for years, to promote GMOs, especially in Africa, where they hope to conquer new markets for their chemicals and patents.

These reports discuss the reality of modifying genes for complex, abiotic-stress tolerance traits:
“The coding for drought tolerance in particular, is incredibly complex with up to as many as 60 genes implicated, all interacting in a subtle and complex way. The successful manipulation and transfer of many complex genes, which can respond to a variety of conditions, and not produce unwanted toxins and allergens, is a long way off for current scientific knowledge.” “Environmental stresses such as drought are unpredictable in various respects such as timing and intensity. Other variables include the presence of disease, day length, temperature, and soil characteristics.” African Centre for Biosafety – ‘Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Drought Tolerant Maize in South Africa’ (2007): http://www.biosafety-info.net/file_dir/4871488837158955b.pdf

“According to the USDA’s environmental assessment and available data, cspB corn is not expected to be of practical value in severe or extreme drought.” “Genetic approaches are unlikely to substantially mitigate losses from severe or extreme droughts in the foreseeable future. That is because traits that provide substantial tolerance under extreme drought greatly reduce plant growth rates, limiting crop yields.”
“Genes involved in drought tolerance often interact in complex and unexpected ways to alter more than one trait. It can mean that engineered drought tolerance genes produce additional, undesirable effects on crop growth.”
“Public universities should expand their research on using plant breeding to improve water use efficiency. The public sector should invest in improving water-saving irrigation methods and the water-holding capacity of soil, reducing water loss from soil, and developing better water storage facilities.”
“The high variability in the test results showed that for several tests, Monsanto’s corn did not provide a statistically significant improvement in yields under drought conditions.” Union of Concerned Scientists – ‘High and Dry – Why Genetic Engineering Is Not Solving Agriculture’s Drought Problem in a Thirsty World’ (2012):

“Genetic engineering has inherent shortcomings pertaining to plant-environment interactions and complex gene regulations that make it unlikely to address climate change either reliably or in the long term. This conclusion is also reflected in the recent IAASTD (2009) report, which considered GE crops to be irrelevant to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and to eradicating hunger. A onesided focus on GE plants contradicts all scientific findings on climate change adaptation in agriculture, and is a long-term threat to global food security.”
Reyes Tirado & Janet Cotter, Greenpeace Research Laboratories, Exeter Uni, UK: ‘Ecological Farming: Drought Resistant Agriculture.’ (2010) – http://indiagovernance.gov.in/files/Drought_Resistant_Agriculture.pdf

Monsanto spliced the B. subtilis gene that expresses cold shock protein B (cspB) into their ‘drought-tolerant’ GM corn MON 87460. USDA approved commercial release in 2011, but it is not commercially available. It is the only ‘abiotic-stress tolerant’ GM event approved in the USA. ISAAA – ‘GM APPROVAL DATA BASE’ http://www.isaaa.org/gmapprovaldatabase/

Risk of antibiotic resistant marker genes to humans and animals:
The antibiotic resistant marker gene neomycin phosphotransferase type II is a part of these constructs and could impact the treatment of MDR TB and HIV/AIDS victims. We find it shocking that Monsanto would propose a release of these GMO varieties, given that South Africa is one of 3 countries with the highest burden of multi-drug resistant TB, and by far the highest number of HIV/AIDS victims in the world.

In South Africa, TB is among the leading causes of death in children under 15. Tuberculosis is one of the leading causes of death among curable infectious diseases. South Africa has the greatest burden of HIV infected individuals (at least 5.7 million). 20% of persons with HIV associated tuberculosis in South Africa are currently infected with multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains, introducing an additional major challenge in coping with the worsening tuberculosis and HIV epidemic. Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death in SA; 13 of 100 deaths are from tuberculosis. ‘The Tuberculosis and HIV Epidemic in South Africa and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV’ – Journal of Infectious Diseases (2011) http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/204/suppl_4/S1099.extract
TB Statistics for South Africa: http://www.tbfacts.org/tb-statistics-south-africa.html

SA ranks first in HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) incidence in the world, with over 400 000 new HIV infections occurring in 2012 – HSRC survey (2012)

“Neomycin is indicated in important clinical conditions.” “aminoglycosides is a class of antibiotics that has become increasingly important in the prevention and treatment of serious invasive bacterial infections in humans. This is because gram-negative bacteria (and tuberculosis bacteria) are becoming resistant to other classes of antibiotics.” “They thus have the potential to become extremely important to treat otherwise multi-resistant gram-negative infections and Tuberculosis.” “The Committees therefore concluded that neomycin, and kanamycin, are of importance for veterinary and human use.” EMEA – Committees for Medicinal Products for Veterinary and Human Use: ‘Presence of the antibiotic resistance marker gene nptII in GM plants for food and feed uses’ 2007′

High Potential for Risk of …read more    

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