ACB Objections Against GM Sugarcane Application


The South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) has applied to
the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for permission to
conduct field trials for 4 varieties of GM sugarcane. Having viewed
SASRI’s applications in terms of the Public Access to Information Act
(PAIA), it is our opinion that the information provided is so inadequate
that it is virtually impossible to conduct any meaningful independent
assessment of the applications. Further, throughout the application runs
the assumption that the genetically modified lines under discussion are
‘equivalent’ to their conventional counterparts. This is a view not
supported by the published literature.

The African Centre for Biosafety hopes that the Executive Council
considers our very real concerns when deciding over this application. In
the interests of the biosafety debate in South Africa, we also
respectfully request that the Executive Council establishes a formal
process whereby it, rather than the developers of GMOs, decides what
constitutes ‘confidential business information’, and what constitutes
information for the public interest.

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