GM Bananas in South Africa: Issues and Concerns


Dear Friends and colleagues,

RE: GM Bananas in South Africa – Issues and Concerns

The University of Pretoria has submitted an application seeking permission to conduct the first ever field trials in South Africa involving GM bananas. The aim is to combat Fusarium wilt, caused by a soil borne fungi. Fusarium oxysporum f.sp cubense (Foc). The banana is genetically engineered by inserting a rice gene (NPRI homolog (NH1)) to confer resistance to the said Foc.

The African Centre of Biosafety (ACB) however, has its reservations and has issued a paper raising critically important biosafety concerns that have been overlooked in the application.

ACB is of the view that GM disease resistant bananas cannot overcome the current problems being experienced, ranging from land tenure to competition from more ecologically suitable production areas such as those in Mozambique.

Given the lack of public interest or commercial justification for the proposed trials as well as the numerous biosafety concerns and unanswered questions highlighted in the paper, the ACB calls on the authorities to reject the application.

The full briefing paper is available at the link below or at:


With best wishes,

Third World Network
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GM Bananas in South Africa – Issues and Concerns

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