lunes, 31 de enero de 2011

The dirty politics of the global grain trade - GM maize farmers face ruin in SA

Dear friends and colleagues

Recently, the South African press reported on the possible bankruptcy
faced by maize farmers. The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has
today released a new report titled “The dirty politics of the global
grain trade – GM maize farmers face ruin in SA,” which provides an
analysis of why South Africa’s record 13 million ton harvest of
maize, at least half of which is GM, has threatened financial ruin for
up to 30% of its maize farmers. The paper addresses the following
issues: the political economy of maize in South Africa; new GM markets
for South Africa; the real beneficiaries of the maize mountains; and
regulatory issues, including the extent to which South Africa’s GMO
permit system contributes towards speculation in the GM maize trade
and the price of food. The paper can be found on the website of the
ACB at

South Africa’s maize farmers recorded a bumper harvest in 2010, yet
now they face ruin. The price of maize has fallen precipitously in the
last 12 months owing to a crisis of over-production of both GM and
non-GM maize. A mass exodus from the maize sector is anticipated, with
as many as 30% of farmers facing potential liquidation.

During July 2010, the Executive Council: GMO Act (EC) granted export
permits allowing 625,000 tons of GM maize to be exported to various
countries in Africa and Asia. Of this, 600,000 tons were bound for
Taiwan and South Korea. A further 35,000 MT of GM soybeans were also
exported to various countries. Thus, for 2010, South Africa exported
over 1 million tons of GMOs, of which GM maize accounted for a
staggering 956,000 MT.

The record GM exports from South Africa is attributed a bumper
harvest, officially the highest since 1982. Far from contributing to
greater food security in the country, the almost dogmatic focus on
production has led to a precipitous fall in local maize prices.
Consequently, the Solidarity Research Institute group in South Africa
has warned that an oncoming financial crisis in the South African
agricultural sector could drive 30% of maize farmers away from the
sector. For each additional unit of value added to total GDP,
agriculture creates twice as much employment as the rest of the
economy. The knock on affects of the crisis on rural South African
communities could be catastrophic.

Download the paper from our website


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