*press release – for immediate release*
5 October 2011
FOOD SOVEREIGNTY CAMPAIGN
MONSANTO GMO EXPERIMENT REJECTED BY LUTZVILLE COMMUNITY
EMERGING FARMERS MOBILISING RESIDENTS FOR ANTI-GMO PICKET
The Lutzville Emerging Farmers Forum and the Food Sovereignty Campaign are mobilising residents of the West Coast town to come together this Friday and reject the experiments with genetically modified maize conducted by Monsanto, the giant American agribusiness corporation, in collaboration with South Africa’s Agricultural Research Council (ARC). This is the latest round in an ongoing conflict that sees marginalised, poor emerging farmers pitted against a corporation with a global reputation for practically limitless wealth and ruthlessness, loyally supported by a state owned institution. The ARC and Monsanto are experimenting with maize genetically modified to withstand drought, which local emerging farmers have opposed through a submission to the GMO council, community meetings and a march.
‘We have been talking to AfricaBio, Monsanto and the ARC,’ says Davine Witbooi of the Lutzville Emerging Farmers Forum, ‘but they take us for a joke. While we were still negotiating we saw in the paper they had already applied for a permit to extend the experiment. Why can Monsanto come from America, and with the ARC decide what this land should be used for, while the emerging farmers are starving for land? This is not America’s land; it is not the land of the ARC. The land should rightfully belong to the people, and the poor should have first option to feed themselves from the land. Now the land is being used for experiments that will serve to make some rich corporation even richer. This picket is a warning. We are still polite. The time will come when we will simply take the land.’
Genetically modified crops have long been rejected by many governments and food, land and environmental activists for its under-regulated and under-researched health and environmental negative effects, of which clear evidence are emerging. Monsanto is one of just six giant business corporations that have used their wealth to steamroll countries into allowing GMOs, because these crops allow greater control of the food chain for these corporations and, of course, greater profits. Higher food prices, bankruptcies among small farmers and rural job losses have been some of the social consequences of this drive to make the super rich mega rich.
On Friday 7 October the activities in Lutzville will start at 10h00 with an open educational session at the Uitkyk Community Hall. At 12h00 there will be a picket at Klipheuwel farm where the experiment is taking place. End
For more information contact
Davine Witbooi 0715922361 or Ricado Jacobs 0828907551