Socio-Economics is the study of relationship between economic activities and social life. It is a multidisciplinary components involving theories and modules from sociology and economics for human dignity among others. However, socioeconomists focuses on social impacts and political activities that affects economic changes, or causes that impact a society. The Goal to Socio/economic study is to bring about improvement on socioeconomic development environment…Give Opinion or Discuss
“The organization is behind an African
Civil Society statement calling for a ban on GM maize in South Africa
and on the continent, which it hopes to submit to African governments.”
African smallholder farmer Motlasi Musi is not happy with the African
Centre for Biosafety’s call for his country and Africa to ban the
cultivation, import and export of all genetically modified maize. “I eat
genetically modified maize, which I have been growing on my farm for
more than seven years, and I am still alive,” he declared.
Musi, 57, a maize farmer in the Fun Valley area of
Olifantsvlei, outside Johannesburg, and a beneficiary of South Africa’s
Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development program, has embraced
the science of biotechnology with gusto.
“What have changed are my yields and my income.” He said
that he earned about 225 dollars more per hectare for his GM maize crop
than he did when farming ordinary maize.
He said that he was helping reduce food insecurity in South Africa by growing and selling GM maize.
“Biotechnology has a very big role in food security,” Musi
told IPS. “The climate has changed and I know that with
drought-tolerant seed I have a tool to fight climate change. I cannot
guarantee that the rain will come and I if plant crops which are not
drought tolerant, I could get into debt and lose my farm.”
A report in April 2012 by the Climate Emergency Institute
titled “The Impact of Climate Change on South Africa” said the country
is experiencing a gradual, yet steady, change in climate with
temperatures showing a significant increase over the last 60 years.
Temperatures in South Africa are predicted to rise in costal regions by
one to two degrees Celsius by 2050.
But the ACB does not believe that GMOs can deliver food security on the continent, specifically in South Africa, a leading African producer of GMOs.
The organization is behind an African Civil Society
statement calling for a ban on GM maize in South Africa and on the
continent, which it hopes to submit to African governments. To date 656
signatures have been collected on the online statement, including those
of 160 African organizations.
“We have sent an open letter to our minister of agriculture in
October to ban GM maize in South Africa,” Haidee Swanby, an officer with
ACB, told IPS.
“We (South Africa) have been cultivating, importing and
exporting GM crops for 14 years with absolutely no impact on food
security whatsoever. In fact, a bag of mealie meal is 84 percent more
expensive than it was four or five years ago due to international prices
and the extensive use of maize for biofuel production.”
Swanby said there was a need to improve access to food, by
addressing poverty, unemployment and issues around land tenure, service
delivery, infrastructure, access to markets, and unfair global trade
“Genetically modified food has never been labelled in
South Africa so there is no way to know if it is causing health
problems,” Swanby said, calling for a rigorous scientific study into the
health implications of GM food.
“If someone is getting sick, how are they going to trace
it back to GMOs when they don’t know they’re eating them? We want more
science, not less!”
The organization’s coordinator Nnimmo Bassey told IPS that
GMOs do not deliver on the promises made by the biotechnology industry.
He argued that hunger in Africa is used as an excuse to contaminate and
erode genetic diversity on the continent.
Bassey said that GM crops are neither more nutritious nor
better yielding nor use fewer pesticides and herbicides. And he said
they are unsafe for humans and for the environment.
“It is all about market colonization,” Bassey told IPS.
“GM crops would neither produce food security nor meet nutrition
deficits. The way forward is food sovereignty – Africans must determine
what crops are suitable culturally and environmentally. Up to 80 percent
of our food needs are met by smallholder farmers. These people need
support and inputs for integrated agro-ecological crop management.
Africa should ideally be a GMO-free continent.
Friends of the Earth International cites failed GMO
experiments in Africa with Bt cotton (a strain of cotton that had the
Bacillus thuringiensis bacterium inserted into its genetic code) in
Burkina Faso and South Africa where they had been touted as the crops to
pull smallholder farmers out of poverty.
Global developer and supplier of plant genetics, including
hybrid seed, DuPont Pioneer, said that the effect of switching from
saved seed to hybrid seed is dramatic.
The company’s vice president responsible for Asia, Africa
and China, Daniel Jacobi, told IPS that of the 24 million hectares of
maize planted annually in sub-Saharan Africa, about a third was hybrid
Furthermore, farmers get a fuller yield from hybrid seeds
by using fertilizer and agronomic practices, reducing post-harvest
losses and getting the crop to market, he maintained.
“We can spend a long time and gain a lot of productivity
in sub-Saharan Africa by doing all those things without ever getting to
the introduction of GMOs,” Jacobi said following a tour of the DuPont
Pioneer facility in the Midwestern U.S. state of Iowa.
“I think we tend to get wrapped up in the debate about
GMOs and how multinational companies are forcing GMOs down the throats
of local farmers. I think we ought to be focused on helping farmers do
the best job they can do today by using hybrid seed and let us not let
those priorities get lost in the big philosophical debate about GMOs.”
AfricaBio, a biotechnology stakeholder association formed
in 1999, says a vast majority of the South African population are
struggling to meet their daily needs and GM products offer a proven
“For 14 consecutive seasons, South Africans have planted
and consumed foods and food products derived from approved GM crops as
part of their diet and no confirmed cases of harm to consumers of GM
foods have been reported,” AfricaBio chief executive officer Nompumelelo
Obokoh told IPS.
Meanwhile, Musi remained unhappy about the call to ban GM
maize. “Africans should come to a realization that all this is happening
in the name of contraceptive imperialism. Africa missed out during the
Green Revolution – we must not miss the Gene Revolution. Let Africans
decide for Africa,” he said.