Concerns Over Impacts of Mozambique’s Field Testing of GM Maize


Dear Friends and Colleagues

Concerns Over Impacts of Mozambique’s Field Testing of GM Maize

Following its ratification of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in 2003, Mozambique put in place a biosafety legal framework in 2005, which restricted the commercial import of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for food, feed and processing, and import for the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) seed.

However, due to the influence of regional Green Revolution policies and programmes, the Mozambican government is now promoting policies that apparently favour the use of modern and mechanised agriculture and private sector inputs, such as GM seeds and synthetic fertilisers. This shift has resulted in the government reviewing the country’s biosafety framework and replacing it with new legislation that allows field trials of GM crops and the importation of GMOs commercially for food, feed and processing.

A new report provides an analysis of these changes focusing on the Monsanto/Gates Foundation’s Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project. Initially WEMA’s goal was to introduce drought-tolerant maize into five African countries, including Mozambique; however, Monsanto’s Bt technology was included in the project in 2011. Trials involving both Bt and GM drought-tolerant maize have been authorised to be tested by the WEMA project in Mozambique. In relation to the Bt maize trials, the Cry1Ab technology has been ‘donated’ by Monsanto to the WEMA project. This is an old throwaway technology, now discontinued in South Africa, where pest resistance has been widely reported. Trials of Bt maize started in Chókwè in February 2017 and trials of the GM drought-tolerant maize will commence in June/July 2017.

The report warns that these changeswill reduce vital biosafety risk assessment procedures and diminish liability on GMO producers in the event of damage occurring, as well as entrench smallholders in an ecologically unsustainable and socially inequitable agricultural system over which they will have little control. For instance, GMO crops will likely result in a decrease in seed diversity and farmers will not be able to sow farm-saved seed. As such, the implications for farmer managed seed systems in Mozambique will be far-reaching.

The report calls for greater cohesion within civil society in Mozambique to engage both farmers and decision-makers about alternative farming systems that are socially just, ecologically sustainable and climate resilient. Due to the health and environmental impacts driven by the GMO push, the report calls on the government to foster investments and support small-scale farmers in sustainable and agro-ecological techniques in order to increase productions and productivity, maximize food security and face climate change.

The full report can be downloaded from:

With best wishes,

Third World Network
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