This Saturday, 25 May, a huge march in Cape Town will take place against Monsanto, the multi-national seed and chemical giant.
The Cape Town march is part of a world-wide outpouring of hostility against Monsanto, the company that has aggressively marketed genetically modified (GM) crops all over the world. The global protest, March Against Monsanto, has announced that marches are being planned on six continents, in 36 countries, totalling events in over 250 cities.
In South Africa marches will happen in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and George.
March against Monsanto Cape Town organiser, Chloe Monteath, says: “We are creating global awareness about Monsanto and many people have indicated they will come out in massive opposition to this company’s activities on 25 May. We will stop Monsanto”.
South Africa is known to be Monsanto’s base on the African continent, having already bought out over half of the South African seed industry and holding absolute monopoly over the soya, cotton and GM maize seed markets. South Africa is the only African country to date that is growing GM crops on a large-scale and the only African country growing GM food crops. World-wide controversy continues to rage over the long-term safety of GM foods.
Small-scale farmers that have formally objected to Monsanto’s field trials of “drought resistant” maize in their local environment are among those who will march. Convener of the Food Sovereignty Campaign and emerging farmer based in Lutzville, Davine Witbooi, says that rural government land has been given to Monsanto to run field trials, while farmers in the area battle for land. She claims that farmers “don’t want this kind of production; it is not good for the environment or for our health. Monsanto came to speak to us after we protested, but did not want to hold a follow-up meeting where both sides of the story could be presented to us”.
Community members and food producers from Khayelitsha will also voice their opposition to Monsanto with an event in Makhaza on the day. Siviwe Mdoda of the community based organisation, the Coalition for Environmental Justice, said “We want to add our voices to the global action against this company. Not many of our members can attend the march in the city centre and we plan on doing our bit in our own backyards, directed at sensitising the communities on the work of Monsanto and what the role of this company represents.”
South Africans have recently learnt that Purity baby foods containing maize and soya contain high levels of GM. Johannesburg-based organisation, the African Centre for Biosafety, released the results of tests done on seven baby foods and formulas last week.
The results have prompted concerned consumers to use 25 May to take local action against GM foods. The Clovelly Friends in support of the African Centre for Biosafety have organised a talk by GM expert Glenn Ashton at the Fish Hoek Library. They say: “Our health, our food security, our agricultural integrity and the health of our environment is threatened by the spread of genetically modified crops in South Africa.
“There is an increasing GM content in many of our staple foods. Most are not labelled which robs us of our right to choose what we eat”.
The March against Monsanto will convene at Kaizersgracht near the Grand Parade at 10 am on Saturday 25th May 2013. It then moves to the grand parade at 1 pm where it will continue until 5 pm
- The GM food awareness event will be at the Fish Hoek Library Hall on 25 May from 10:00 till 12:00.
ENDS// 573 words
- March against Monsanto: Rean Cloete:076 624 0687
- March against Monsanto: Chloe Menteath: 0714543425
- March against Monsanto: Brent Hill: 072 377 7835
- Food Sovereignty Campaign: Davine Witbooi: 071 592 2361
- Coalition for Environmental Justice: Siviwe Ndoda: 082 368 5096
- African Centre for Biosafety: Haidee Swanby
- Friends of Clovelly :Kyoko: 076 798 0313 firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of Clovelly: Kim: 0754548467 Kim
See photos of marches on Twiiter – at St Francis Chronicle on Twitter: @stfranchronicle
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There is also a March against Monsanto happening in Tzaneen, Limpopo!