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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Outcry over planned release of GM maize in South Africa

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has said that it will object plans to commercially release three genetically-modified (GM) maize seed varieties in South Africa.

The ACB is resisting the commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) maize seed varieties

American agricultural chemicals firm, Dow AgroSciences, has lodged applications for commercial release of three GM maize seed varieties genetically engineered to withstand the controversial war chemical, 2,4 D. These involve stacked events involving glyphosate, glufosinate, 2,4 D and an insect resistant trait and the single trait event.

The applications were reportedly made to the South African authorities, and the deadline for objections has been fixed for Monday, April 1, 2019.

But the ACB, a research and advocacy organisation, has kicked against the development, saying that it is potentially damaging to human health and the environment.

It said: “The commercialisation of 2,4-D tolerant GM crops is predicted to lead to a 30-fold rise in 2,4-D pesticide use. A synthetic auxin (plant hormone), 2,4-D is a war chemical that has long been linked to wide-ranging toxicity, including cancers, birth defects and reproductive toxicity.

“We find it totally unacceptable that farm workers, farmers and consumers will be exposed to more and cocktails of chemicals in this war against nature and evolutionary biology. These toxic chemicals will further pollute water and soils and load our staple food with even more novel and risky genes and toxic chemical residues.

“This is even more disturbing in an era where mega-mergers such as those between Dow and Dupont in the agribusiness sector are conferring increasing power to an oligarchy of global seed and agrochemical producers.

“We have previously alerted the South African public that commercial releases were imminent. We will be preparing strong objections to all three applications.”

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