Agricultural Biotechnology Annual

An Expert's View about Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in South Africa

Posted on: 21 Aug 2012

The production area of biotech crops in South Africa continued to expand in 2011 to reach 2.3 million hectares, making South Africa the ninth largest producer of biotech crops in the world.

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Required Report - public distribution Date: 7/12/2012 GAIN Report Number: South Africa - Republic of Agricultural Biotechnology Annual Approved By: Ross Kreamer Prepared By: Dirk Esterhuizen Report Highlights: The production area of biotech crops in South Africa continued to expand in 2011 to reach 2.3 million hectares, making South Africa the ninth largest producer of biotech crops in the world. South Africa‟s new Consumer Protection Bill came into effect on April 1, 2011. The new act requires virtually every product label in South Africa„s food and beverage industry to be changed to comply with mandatory GMO labeling requirements. The intent of the law is to prevent exploitation or harm of consumers and to promote the social well-being of consumers. In recent events, Business Unity South Africa organized a meeting with the Commissioner of the Consumer Protection Act on 29 May 2012, to discuss the current challenges pertaining to the regulations of the Act, including GM labeling. The Commissioner acknowledged the inherent challenges pertaining to definitions and interpretations of the existing GM regulations. As a result, the Commissioner has been collaborating with the Departments of Health, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Trade and Industry and Science and Technology in an effort to develop more sensible guidelines on GM labeling. The publication of the draft GM labeling guidelines is envisaged by the end of July 2012. Sections I, II, III and V were updated. Section I. Executive Summary: South Africa possesses a highly advanced agricultural industry based inter alia on first-generation biotechnologies and effective plant breeding capabilities. The country has been involved with biotechnology research and development for over 30 years and will continue to be the biotechnology leader on the Africa continent. The production area of biotech crops in South Africa continued to expand in 2011 to reach 2.3 million hectares, making South Africa the ninth largest producer of biotech crops in the world, illustrating that South African farmers have adopted biotech and the benefits thereof. Genetically Modified (GM) corn plantings represent 80 percent of total biotech planting in South Africa, followed by GM soybeans (approximately 19 percent) and GM cotton (approximately one percent). Almost 72 percent of corn plantings, 85 percent of soybean plantings and all cotton plantings in South Africa are GM. All of the GM events that are currently commercially produced in South Africa were developed in the United States. However, due to the fact that that the United States has approved corn events that are not yet approved in South Africa, United States commercial corn is not authorized to enter into South Africa. South Africa is a net exporter of agricultural, fish and forestry products. The Netherlands the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe are the three major destinations of South Africa‟s agriculture, fish, and forestry products and represents almost a quarter of total exports. South Africa‟s exports of agricultural, fish and forestry products to the United States were valued at US$252 million in 2011, basically at the same level as 2010, and account for 3 percent of total agricultural exports by South Africa. Wine (US$39 million), citrus (US$37 million), and nuts (US$29 million) were the major items exported to the United States. South Africa‟s major partner for importing agriculture, fish, and forestry products is Argentina, which accounts for 12 percent of imports. Argentina is followed by Brazil, Thailand and the United States. Imports from the United States increased by 58 percent to a record US$427 million in 2011 and represents more than six percent of South African imports of agriculture, fish, and forestry products. The increase in imports from the United States was due primarily to an increase in wheat imports. Wheat (US$168 million), miscellaneous edible preparations ($40 million) and spirituous beverages (US$30 million) were the major products imported from the United States by South Africa in 2011. On April 1, 2011, the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published regulations in the Gazette that brought the new Consumer Protection Act (68/2008) into enforcement. The primary purpose of the act is to prevent exploitation or harm of consumers and to promote the social well being of consumers. However, according to the act mandatory labeling of GMOs is required for all domestic and imported food products. In recent events, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) organized a meeting with the Commissioner of the Consumer Protection Act on 29 May 2012, to discuss the current challenges pertaining to the regulations of the Act, including GM labeling. The BUSA delegates tabled the several concerns regarding GM labeling to the Commissioner. The Commissioner replied by acknowledging the inherent challenges pertaining to definitions and interpretations of the existing GM regulations as well as disparities leading to the final draft. As a result, the Commission has been collaborating with the Departments of Health, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Trade and Industry and Science and Technology in an effort to develop more sensible guidelines on GM labeling. The Commissioner furthermore committed that the industry would be consulted on draft GM labeling guidelines before publication dated envisaged to be the end of July 2012. SA requires an additional approval for GM seeds that combines two already approved traits, such as herbicide tolerance and insect resistance. This requirement means that companies effectively need to start from the beginning of the approval process for stacked events, even when the individual traits have already been approved. The Executive Council has reconfirmed in its first meeting of 2012 that each stack event must be subjected to a separate safety assessment as per the GMO Act. FAS/Pretoria, as part of a panel of speakers, was invited to brief the South African Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture on the United States experience with biotechnology adoption. Unexpectedly, the Portfolio Committees for Rural Development, Health, and the Environment also attended. This marked the first time FAS/Pretoria had addressed the Parliamentary committees that oversee the priorities and budgets of their respective departments for biotech- related rule-making. Section II. Plant Biotechnology Trade and Production: Current Status Table 1 shows all the GMO events that have been approved for general release by South Africa under the Genetically Modified Organism Act of 1997. This means these events can be used for commercial plantings, for food and/or feed and the importation and exportation of these events are allowed. All the GMO events that are currently commercially available in South Africa were developed in the United States. These events is present in three crops namely, corn, soybeans and cotton. Table 1: GMO events approved for general release in South Africa Company Event Crop Trait Year approved Syngenta BT11xGA21 Corn Insect resistant 2010 Herbicide tolerant Syngenta GA21 Corn Herbicide 2010 tolerant Monsanto MON89034xNK603 Corn Insect resistant 2010 Herbicide tolerant Monsanto MON89034 Corn Insect resistant 2010 Monsanto Bollgard II x RR flex (MON15985 x Cotton Insect resistant 2007 MON88913) Herbicide tolerant Monsanto MON88913 Cotton Herbicide 2007 tolerant Monsanto MON810 x NK603 Corn Insect resistant 2007 Herbicide tolerant Monsanto Bollgard RR Cotton Insect resistant 2005 Herbicide tolerant Monsanto Bollgard II, line 15985 Cotton Insect resistant 2003 Syngenta Bt11 Corn Insect resistant 2003 Monsanto NK603 Corn Herbicide 2002 tolerant Monsanto GTS40-3-2 Soybeans Herbicide 2001 tolerant Monsanto RR lines 1445 & 1698 Cotton Herbicide 2000 tolerant Monsanto Line 531/Bollgard Cotton Insect resistant 1997 Monsanto MON810/Yieldgard Corn Insect resistant 1997 Note: The events can be used for importation/exportation, commercial plantings ,and for food and/or feed In Table 2, GMO events that have received commodity clearance are indicated. Commodity clearance means the importation of these events for the use as food and/or feed are allowed. In 2011, 24 new events receive commodity clearance. The events cover five crops, namely, corn, soybeans, cotton, rice and rape seed. Table 2: GMO events with commodity clearance Company Event Crop Trait Year approved Syngenta MIR604 Corn Insect resistant 2011 Syngenta BT11 x GA21 Corn Insect resistant 2011 Herbicide tolerant Syngenta BT11 x MIR604 Corn Insect resistant 2011 Herbicide tolerant Syngenta MIR604 x GA21 Corn Insect resistant 2011 Herbicide tolerant Syngenta BT11 x MIR604 x Corn Insect resistant 2011 GA21 Herbicide tolerant Syngenta BT11 x MIR162 x Corn Insect resistant 2011 MIR604 x GA21 Herbicide tolerant Syngenta BT11 x MIR162 x Corn Insect resistant 2011 GA21 Herbicide tolerant Syngenta BT11 x MIR162 x Corn Insect resistant 2011 TC1507 x GA21 Herbicide tolerant Pioneer TC1507 x NK603 Corn Insect resistant 2011 Herbicide tolerant Pioneer 59122 Corn Insect resistant 2011 Pioneer NK603 x 59122 Corn Insect resistant 2011 Herbicide tolerant Pioneer 356043 Soybean Herbicide tolerant 2011 Pioneer 305423 Soybean Higher oleic acid 2011 content Herbicide tolerant Pioneer 305423 x 40-3-2 Soybean Higher oleic acid 2011 content Herbicide tolerant DowAgroScience TC1507 x 59122 Corn Insect resistant 2011 Herbicide tolerant DowAgroScience TC1507 x 59122 x Corn Insect resistant 2011 NK603 Herbicide tolerant Bayer LLRice62 Rice Herbicide tolerant 2011 Bayer LLCotton25 Cotton Herbicide tolerant 2011 Monsanto MON863 Corn Insect resistant 2011 Monsanto MON863 x MON810 Corn Insect resistant 2011 Monsanto MON863 x MON810 x Corn Insect resistant 2011 NK603 Herbicide tolerant Monsanto MON88017 Corn Insect resistant 2011 Monsanto MON88017 x MON810 Corn Insect resistant 2011 DowAgroScience & MON89034 x TC1507 x Corn Insect resistant 2011 Monsanto MON88017 x 59122 Herbicide tolerant Monsanto MON810 x NK603 Corn Insect resistant 2004 Herbicide tolerant Monsanto MON810 x GA21 Corn Insect resistant 2003 Herbicide tolerant Pioneer Hi-Bred TC1507 Corn Insect resistant 2002 Herbicide tolerant Monsanto NK603 Corn Herbicide tolerant 2002 Monsanto GA21 Corn Herbicide tolerant 2002 Syngenta Bt11 Corn Insect resistant 2002 AgrEvo T25 Corn Herbicide tolerant 2001 Syngenta Bt176 Corn Insect resistant 2001 AgrEvo Topas 19/2, Ms1Rf1, Oilseed Herbicide tolerant 2001 Ms1Rf2, rape Ms8Rf3 AgrEvo A2704-12 Soybean Herbicide tolerant 2001 Notes: Excludes events that have obtained general release clearance before commodity clearance; the events can be used for importation as food or feed Corn Corn is the main field crop produced in South Africa and is used for both human consumption (mainly white corn) and animal feed (mainly yellow corn). The first GM corn event (insect resistant) approved in South Africa was in 1997 and since then there was a progressive and steady increase in GM corn plantings. Table 3 illustrates the plantings of GM corn in South Africa over the past 7 years. GM corn plantings increased from 28 percent of total corn planted in the 2005/06-production year to 72 percent in the 2011/12- production year. Of the 1.9 million hectares of corn planted with GM seed in the 20011/12-production year, single Bt comprised 45 percent, herbicide tolerant 14 percent and stacked Bt and herbicide tolerant 41 percent (see also Table 4). White corn plantings in the 2011/12 production year were 1.6 million hectares of which 72 percent or 1.1 million hectares were GM seed. Yellow corn plantings were 1.0 million hectares of which, also 72 percent, or 747,000 hectares were GM seed. Table 3: Planting of GM corn in South Africa over the past 7 years Area planted ‘000 ha Production years White corn Yellow corn Total corn 2005/06 Total 1,033 567 1,600 Biotech 281 175 456 % of total 27% 30% 28% 2006/07 Total 1,625 927 2,552 Biotech 851 528 1,379 % of total 52% 56% 49% 2007/08 Total 1,737 1,062 2,799 Biotech 975 588 1.563 % of total 56% 55% 55% 2008/09 Total 1,489 939 2,428 Biotech 892 724 1.616 % of total 59% 77% 66% 2009/10 Total 1,720 1,023 2,743 Biotech 1,212 667 1,879 % of total 70% 65% 68% 2010/11 Total 1,418 954 2,372 Biotech 1,060 765 1,825 % of total 75% 80% 77% 2011/12 Total 1,564 1,038 2,602 Biotech 1,126 747 1,873 % of total 72% 72% 72% Source: FoodNCropBio supported by the Corn Trust Table 4: Percentage of the biotech corn crop planted with the different traits the past 7 years Production year White corn Yellow corn Total corn 2005/06 % Insect Resistant 79 61 72 % Herbicide Tolerant 21 39 28 % Stacked 0 0 0 2006/07 % Insect Resistant 84 72 80 % Herbicide Tolerant 16 28 20 % Stacked 0 0 0 2007/08 % Insect Resistant 71 69 71 % Herbicide Tolerant 22 27 24 % Stacked 6 4 5 2008/09 % Insect Resistant 66 63 64 % Herbicide Tolerant 17 18 17 % Stacked 19 19 19 2009/10 % Insect Resistant 81 49 70 % Herbicide Tolerant 10 23 14 % Stacked 9 28 16 2010/11 % Insect Resistant 50 39 46 % Herbicide Tolerant 9 21 13 % Stacked 41 41 41 2011/12 % Insect Resistant 46 44 45 % Herbicide Tolerant 10 20 14 % Stacked 44 36 41 Source: FoodNCropBio supported by the Corn Trust The long term trend in corn production indicates South Africa is producing more corn on less area (see Figure 1). The main reasons for this trend are more efficient and effective farming methods and practices, the use of less marginal land in the corn production systems, better seed cultivars, and the adoption of biotechnology. Figure 2 illustrates another remarkable trend, where the average corn yield almost doubled over the past 15 years in South Africa, mainly after the adoption of biotechnology in the late 1990‟s. Indications are that this trend of producing more corn on fewer hectares will continue in future. Figure 1: The trend in corn production and consumption in South Africa over the past 40 years Figure 2: Trends in the average corn yields in South Africa South Africa is the major exporter of corn on the Africa continent and a large percent of South African corn exports are destined for countries in Africa. In the 2010/11 MY, South Africa exported 2.4 million tons of corn, which included 1.7 million tons of white corn and 710,334 tons of yellow corn. Almost half of the corn exports (1.1 million tons of white corn) went to Mexico. Other major export destinations included the countries neighboring South Africa (399,632 tons of white corn and 114,170 tons of yellow corn), Korea (302,259 tons of white corn and 45,234 tons of yellow corn) and Taiwan (161,550 tons of yellow corn). Despite the unfavorable climatic conditions, South Africa is expected to continue to be a net exporter of corn in the 2011/12 MY. Post estimates that these exports will be around 1.5 million tons. Due to the fact that the United States has approved corn events that are not yet approved in South Africa, United States commercial corn is not authorized to enter into South Africa. South Africa is not opposed in principle to these events, but if they have not made it through the regulatory approval process of South Africa they cannot be imported. Commercial corn that contains biotech events that are already approved in South Africa is not affected by this. However, U.S. food aid destined to Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe ordinarily passes through the port of Durban, South Africa. In order for the shipment to pass through South Africa, the GMO Registrar‟s Office requires several measures: Advance notification so that proper containment measures can be taken; Letter from the recipient country stating that they accept the food aid consignment and that they know that it contains GMOs; Milling near the port. Southern African Development Community (SADC) regulations state that if food aid has biotech content then it must be milled. Soybeans GM soybeans were first approved for commercialization in South Africa in 2001; by 2006, 75 percent of the soybean crop grown was GM. In the 2011/12 season the area planted with soybeans increased by 13 percent, from 418,000 hectares in the 2010/11 season to 472,000 hectares. In the 2011/12 season, soybean plantings surpassed sunflower plantings for the first time ever. This illustrates the remarkable increase, of almost 4- fold, in the hectares planted with soybean in South Africa the past ten years. An estimated 85 percent of the 2011/12 season‟s soybeans plantings are GM (herbicide tolerant). Many South African producers are now recognizing the value of soybeans in a crop rotation system with corn and, in addition, the production of soybeans is made relatively easier with the GM cultivars that are available in South Africa. With the increase in crushing capacity, indications are that this upward trend in soybean plantings will continue in future. Cotton Bt cotton was the first GM crop variety to be grown commercially in sub-Saharan Africa. Early adopters were small-scale farmers in the Makhatini Flats in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, who have been growing the crop since 1998. Total cotton planting remained unchanged in 2011/12 at 15,000 hectares. All cotton plantings in South Africa are GM. The stacked variety is the most favored one and represents 95 percent of total cotton planting. Biotech crops under development: Permits issued The Executive Council (EC) review all applications submitted in terms of the GMO Act and use a case-by- case and precautionary approach to ensure sound decision-making in the interest of safety of the environment and the health of human and animals. Most applications considered by the EC involve GM corn, soybeans and cotton and in most cases represent modifications and refinements of existing traits. Mindful of other challenges beyond that of agriculture, the EC also evaluate applications for vaccine trials involving GMOs. South Africa has seen an increase in the submission of comments on GMO permit applications from a wider audience of stakeholders and interested parties in recent years. These organizations include academic institutions, consumer forums, commodity organizations, provincial departments, and other stakeholder organizations representing the anti- and pro- GMO movements. In terms of the GMO Act, a total number of 387 permits were issued in 2011, compared to 396 in 2010 and 359 in 2009. The majority of permits being issued were for the import and export of GM crops (see also Table 5). Imports focused mainly on commercially approved corn, soybeans and cotton for activities relating to planting, contained use, food and feed. In addition, imports also include GM HIV and tuberculosis vaccines for contained use in South Africa. The main exports permits issued included GM corn and to a lesser degree GM cotton primarily for contained use, planting activities and GM corn exported as a commodity for human and animal use. Twenty-four commodity clearances were approved in 2011(refer back to Table 2), after safety assessments were completed. These approvals were basically for corn for the use as food, feed and processing. Table 5: Summary of GMO permits issues in South Africa from 2008 2008 2009 2010 2011 Exports 95 167 225 197 Imports 135 150 128 131 Trials 16 35 33 32 Contained use 2 7 6 3 Commodity clearance 24 0 0 24 General release 0 0 4 0 Total 272 359 396 387 In 2011, 32 field, or clinical trials permits were authorized. Table 6 summarizes the event, trait, product and company involved of the permits issued. The products include corn, soybeans and cotton for evaluation of insect resistance and/or herbicide tolerance and the long-awaited drought tolerance in corn as well as for the evaluation of GM sugar with altered sugar content and growth rate. Clinical trial permits were issued for HIV and tuberculosis vaccines. Table 6: GMOs approved for trial release in 2011 Company Event Crop/product Trait Monsanto MON87460 Corn Drought Tolerance MON87460 Corn Drought Tolerance Bayer Bollgard II x LLCotton25 Cotton Herbicide tolerance Insect resistant Twinlink x GlyTol Cotton Herbicide tolerance Insect resistant Bollgard II x GlyTol x LLCotton25 Cotton Herbicide tolerance Insect resistant Triclinium AERAS-402 Vaccine TB AERAS-422 Vaccine TB VPM1002 Vaccine TB OncoVEX Ad26.ENVA.01 & Ad35-ENV Vaccine HIV SASRI pihUMPS Sugarcane Increase yield & sucrose content pCel Sugarcane Increase cellulose content piHADK Sugarcane Increase yield & starch content piAGPase Sugarcane Decrease starch content Pioneer TC1507 Corn Insect resistant TC1507 x MON810 Corn Herbicide tolerance Insect resistant TC1507 x MON810 x NK603 Corn Herbicide tolerance Insect resistant PHP36827 Corn Insect resistant PHP37046 Corn Insect resistant PHP36826 Corn Insect resistant PHP37047 Corn Insect resistant DP-32138-1 Corn Male fertility Pollen infertility PHP37050 Corn Herbicide tolerance Insect resistant TC1507 x NK603 Corn Herbicide tolerance Insect resistant TC1507 x 59122 x MON810 x Corn Herbicide tolerance NK603 Insect resistant TC1507 x 59122 Corn Insect resistant TC1507 x 59122 x NK603 Corn Herbicide tolerance Insect resistant 59122 Corn Insect resistant 356043 x 40-3-2 Soybeans Herbicide tolerance Wits SAAVI MVA-C TBC-M456 Vaccine HIV Grapevines The South African wine and table grape industries are funding research to develop GM cultivars. The research is focused on the development of fungal and viral resistant vines and the metabolic engineering of grapevines towards enhanced environmental stress resistance and improved grape berry quality factors such as color and aroma. Several transgenic grapevine lines are being evaluated in greenhouse trials. In 2006, the Institute for Wine Biotechnology at Stellenbosch University applied for a permit to perform the first GM grapevine field trials in South Africa. The objectives of the trial were to evaluate the morphology, growth, and fruit quality of the transgenic plants under field conditions. In September 2007, the Advisory Committee (AC) evaluated the application and a list of questions about the trials was referred back to the applicant. The applicant responded to those questions and the permit for field trials was finally approved in September 2009. Wine is one of the major agricultural products exported to the United States by South Africa, with an annual value worth around US$40 million. The wine industry and government, through the Department of Trade and Industry and the National Research Foundation, have together invested about US$1.5 million over the past two years in vine and wine biotechnology. Bt Potato The tuber moth resistant Bt potato, SpuntaG2, developed by the South African Agricultural Research Council and Michigan State University was denied general release by the EC in 2009. The EC dismissed the application for a permit to release the potato on safety and economic grounds. The Agricultural Research Council appealed against the EC‟s decision in October 2009. The appeal decision is still pending. The potato, SpuntaG2, contains a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis which acts like a built- in pesticide against the tuber moth (Phthorimaea operculella). The moth caused R40 million (US$5 million) of losses to the potato industry in 2008. Scientists had hoped the potato would allow farmers to use fewer pesticides, reducing costs and helping the environment. The local potato industry, represented by Potatoes SA, stressed that, while they support GMO innovations and understand the potential of GMOs to strengthen agricultural productivity, they felt the introduction of the Bt potato would negatively affect potato demand in South Africa. Potatoes SA is focusing on increasing potato consumption in South Africa, which has been falling over the past few years. It is not clear if the statement of Potatoes SA against the approval of the Bt potato had influenced the decision of the new GMO trait. If the appeal fails there is a strong possibility that the GM potato research will cease due to lack of funding. Cassava South Africa‟s Agricultural Research Council (ARC) received authorization for contained use of a starch enhanced cassava variety. The main goal of this crop is to produce an industrial starch crop, as a means to improve jobs and income for South Africa and the region. USAID/South Africa obligated $800,000 over two years to this research and the initial focus was on further development and roll-out of a transgenic pest- resistant variety of cassava for use as industrial starch. The project is being managed by Michigan State University in collaboration with the CGIAR. Transgenic Sorghum An application for contained greenhouse facility testing of transgenic sorghum was approved by the South Africa‟s GMO Executive Council after twice being denied due to technical reasons. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) works on the African Bio-fortified Sorghum Project (ABS) in level 3 biosafety greenhouses. Using genetic engineering and conventional plant breeding methods, the scientists hoped to develop a more easily digestible strain of sorghum with increased levels of vitamins A and E, iron, zinc, and essential amino acids Sugar The Variety Improvement Program of the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) encompasses operational and research activities that facilitate the development and release of varieties with sucrose, yield, pest and disease, agronomic and milling characteristics that are desirable to both millers and growers. Currently, modern biotechnological approaches are deployed to (1) enhance parental selection, (2) deliver novel, desirable traits ('precision breeding'), (3) develop systems for the rapid bulking and distribution of high- quality seed cane and (4) investigate the biological basis of sucrose accumulation in sugarcane, with a view to enhancing the process. While these research efforts are guided strongly by breeding imperatives, they are also informed by priorities determined within the Crop Protection and Resource Optimization programs. Research projects include: Analysis of transgenic sugarcane lines designed to test perturbed sugar metabolism. Drought tolerance induced in sugarcane by genetic modification. Overcoming transgenic silencing in sugarcane. Unlocking genetic variation in sugarcane for disease resistance. Improved nitrogen use efficiency via GM technology. Medium and long-term conservation of strategically-important transgenic germplasm. Other Research Research is continuing on corn and cotton for evaluation of insect resistance and/or herbicide tolerance and the long-awaited drought tolerance in corn. The ARC is also busy on transgenic virus resistant selections of an ornamental bulb species, Orinthogalum, a type of hyacinth (Chinkerinchee or Sun Star). Pannar Seed and Pioneer Hi-Bred’s proposed partnership approved The South African Competition Appeal Court announced in May 2012, its approval of the transaction between Pannar and Pioneer, overturning an earlier decision by the South African Competition Tribunal. The transaction, where Pannar will sell the majority of its business shares to Pioneer, has already been approved by the competition authorities in other African countries where approval was required, including Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia. The approval of the transaction is subject to a number of conditions that Pioneer and Pannar have committed to, including significant, long-term investment in South Africa. In addition to its investment in Pannar, Pioneer has committed US$7.5 million by 2017 to establish a regional research centre in South Africa that would bring advanced R&D breeding technologies to Africa and apply these technologies to the companies‟ complementary germplasm pools. The research centre will be similar to the innovative centers that DuPont has established in Brazil, India and China and will allow South Africa the opportunity to play a leading role in agricultural development for the African continent. Pioneer and Pannar have further committed to working with communities, government and other groups to develop programs addressing the challenges faced by small-scale and developing farmers to increase their overall farm productivity, profitability and food security. Pioneer has committed US$2.5 million over six years toward programs, in addition to its current endeavors, that will benefit developing famers in South Africa. The merger will allow each business to access additional crop areas, reach more customers and deliver improved seed products quicker and more efficiently than either could have achieved on its own. Pannar receives access to Pioneer‟s genetics library and its corn breeding and biotechnology capabilities which will benefit its Africa operations and its operations in the United States and Argentina. Pioneer will tap into Pannar‟s expertise and reach across Africa and its corn genetics developed specifically for the region. Both Pannar and Pioneer are positive that the transaction could help improve food production in South Africa and throughout Africa. The increases in farmer productivity through higher crop yields and better use of technology are a critical component in addressing the need to feed rapidly increasing populations, in Africa and globally. Section III. Plant Biotechnology Policy: Historical context In 1979, the South African government established the Committee on Genetic engineering (SAGENE). SAGENE comprised of a group of brilliant South African scientists and was commissioned to act as scientific advisory body to the government and paved the way for the uptake of genetic engineering in food, agriculture, and medicine. In 1989, on the advice of SAGENE, the first GMO experiments in open field trials took place. In January 1994, a few months before South Africa‟s first democratic elections, SAGENE was given legal powers to “advise any Minister, statutory or government body on any form of legislation or controls pertaining to the importation and/or release of GMO products”. As a result, SAGENE was task in drafting a GMO Act for South Africa. A draft GMO bill was published for public comment in 1996 and passed by the Parliament in 1997. Nevertheless, the GMO Act only came into effect in December 1999, after regulations to bring the Act into effect were promulgated. In this interim period, SAGENE continued to act as the key “regulatory body” for GMO products, and under its auspices granted permits to allow Monsanto commercializing GM cotton and GM corn seed. In addition, 178 permits were granted for a variety of open field GMO trials. Once the GMO Act came into effect, SAGENE ceased to exist and was replace by an Executive Council, established by the GMO Act. The GMO Act of 1997 The GMO Act of 1997, and its accompanying Regulations, is administrated by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). Under the GMO act a decision-making body (the Executive Council), an advisory body (the Advisory Council) and administrative body (the GMO Registrar) was established to: Provide measures to promote the responsible development, production, use and application of GMOs; Ensure that all activities involving the use of GMOs be carried out in such a way as to limit possible harmful consequences to the environment, human, as well as, animal health; Give attention to the prevention of accidents and the effective management of waste; Establish mutual measures for the evolution and reduction of the potential risks arising from activities involving the use of GMOs; Lay down the necessary requirements and criteria for risk assessments; Establish appropriate procedures for the notification of specific activities involving the use of GMOs. This GMO Act of 1997 was modified by cabinet in 2005 to bring it in line with the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol (CBP) and again in 2006 in order to address some economic and environmental concerns. These amendments to the GMO Act were published and gazetted on April 17, 2007 and came into effect in February 2010, after the Regulations were published. The GMO Act, as amended, does not change the pre- existing preamble, which establishes the general ethos of the legislation namely, to subsume the need for biosafety with the imperative to promote genetic engineering. The amendments to the GMO act now make it clear that a scientifically based risk assessment is a prerequisite for decision-making and also authorizes the EC to determine if an environmental impact assessment is required under the National Environmental Management Act. The amendments also add specific legislation to allow socio-economic considerations to factor into decision-making and makes those considerations significantly important in the decision-making process. The amendments also create at least 8 new provisions dealing with accidents and/or unintentional transboundary movement. These provisions have been motivated by the spate of contamination incidents that have occurred worldwide involving unapproved GMOs. A new definition of “accident” has been created to capture two types of situations: one dealing with unintentional transbondary movements of GMOs and the other, unintentional environmental release within South Africa. In summary: The existence and application of the GMO Act and its amendments provides South Africa with a decision-making tool that enables authorities to conduct scientifically-based, case-by-case assessment of the potential risks that may arise from any activity involving a particular GMO. The Executive Council The EC functions as an advisory body to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on matters relating to GMOs, but more important is the decision-making body that approves or rejects GMO applications. The EC is also empowered to co-opt any person knowledgeable in the field of science to serve on the EC to provide advice. The EC is made up of representatives of different departments within the South African government. These include: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department of Water and Environmental Affairs Department of Health Department of Trade and Industry Department of Science and Technology Department of Labor Department of Arts and Culture Before making a decision regarding GMO applications, the EC is obliged to consult with the Advisory Committee (AC). The AC is represented on the EC through its chairperson. Decision-making by the EC is on the basis of consensus by all the members and where no consensus is reached, the application before the EC will be considered as having been refused. For this reason it is essential that all representatives on the EC have significant knowledge on biotechnology and biosafety. The Advisory Council The AC consists of ten scientists who are appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The EC has a say in the appointment of members of the AC and has recently changed a number of the members, following protest by civil society that some members of the AC were also members of the pro-GMO lobby group, Africabio and ex-SAGENE members. The role of the AC is to provide the EC advice on GMO applications. The AC is further supported by subcommittee members representing an extended pool of scientific expertise from various disciplines. The AC together with the subcommittee members is responsible for the evaluation of risk assessments of all applications as it relates to food, feed and environmental impact and submit recommendations to the EC. The Registrar The Registrar, who is appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, is in charge of the day-to-day administration of the GMO act. The Registrar acts on the instructions and conditions laid down by the EC. The Registrar is also responsible for examine applications to ensure conformity with the Act, issuing of permits, amending and withdrawing of permits, maintaining a register and monitor all facilities that are used for contained use and trail release sites. Other regulations that impact on GMOs in South Africa: The National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act The National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (Biodiversity Act) of 2004 was established to protect South Africa‟s biodiversity from specific threats and includes GMOs as one as those threats. It also ensures there is a sharing of benefits from South Africa‟s biological resources. Section 78 of the act gives the Minister of Environmental Affairs the power to deny a permit for general or trial release applied for under the GMO Act, if the GMO may pose a threat to any indigenous species or the environment, unless an environmental assessment has been conducted. There have been relatively few GMO environmental assessments conducted as a result of the requirements of the Biodiversity Act. The Act also asks for the establishment of a South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). SANBI is tasked to monitor and report regularly to the Minister of Environmental Affairs on the impacts of any genetically modified organism that has been released into the environment. The legislation requires reports on the impact of non-target organisms and ecological processes, indigenous biological resources and the biological diversity of species used for agriculture. Consumer Protection Act Health regulations published in 2004 largely follow Codex Alimentarius scientific guidelines. These regulations mandate labeling of GM foods only in certain cases, including when allergens or human/animal proteins are present, and when a GM food product differs significantly from a non-GM equivalent. The rules also require validation of enhanced-characteristic (e.g., “more nutritious”) claims for GM food products. The regulations do not address claims that products are GM-free. On April 24, 2009, the President signed the new Consumer Protection Bill into law. Implementation of the Act, however, was delayed for some time as the legislation generated significant comments from the private sector over the basis of many provisions and uncertainty over how the Act would be enforced. The new Consumer Protection Bill require virtually that every product label in South Africa„s food and beverage industry to be changed. On April 1, 2011, the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published regulations in the Gazette that brought the Consumer Protection Act (68/2008) into force. The regulation came into effect six months (October 1, 2012) after the commencement of the act. The primary purpose of the law is to prevent exploitation or harm of consumers and to promote the social well being of consumers. However, the approved Consumer Protection Act has the following section which states that all products containing GM material must be labeled [Section 24(6)]: (6) Any person who produces, supplies, imports or packages any prescribed goods must display on, or in association with the packaging of those goods, a notice in the prescribed manner and form that discloses the presence of any genetically modified ingredients or components of those goods in accordance with applicable regulations. According to the act: All food containing more than five percent genetically modified ingredients, whether produced in South Africa or elsewhere, needs to carry the declaration which states, "contains at least five percent genetically modified organisms‟‟ in a conspicuous and easily legible manner and size. Those products that contain less than five percent of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) may be labeled "Genetically modified content is below five percent". If it is impossible or not feasible to test goods for the presence of GMOs, the product must be labeled "may contain GMO ingredients". Less than one percent – maybe labeled as does not contain genetically modified organisms The Department of Trade & Industry views the labeling of GMOs solely within the context of the consumer‟s right to obtain the facts needed to make an informed choice or decision about food. It is thus not about human health, safety or quality issues. Additionally, the new Act includes a significant change to product liability, where a consumer no longer has to demonstrate that a producer was negligent before receiving compensation for injury. The new legislation puts the burden of proof on the producer or supplier, meaning that a consumer can sue almost any producer or supplier for harm or injury that is the result of a failed, defective, or unsafe product. Almost every supplier must comply with the bill, even if the supplier does not reside in South Africa. Foreign producers who sell products through a South African agent for use in South Africa would be included under the bill. These regulations may have a significant impact not only on regional trade, but also on United States exports to South Africa, since all products will have to be labeled and producers/suppliers could be held liable for any purported harm their product may have caused. South African biotechnology stakeholders are also concerned about the scope of the clause and whether GM products that have already been registered and approved for use in the Republic of South Africa (e.g. certain varieties of corn, soybean and cotton) need to be labeled. In recent events, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) organized a meeting with the Commissioner of the Consumer Protection Act on 29 May 2012, to discuss the current challenges pertaining to the regulations of the Act. The request for BUSA‟s intervention was as a result of numerous unsuccessful attempts by respective business community members to secure meetings with the Commissioner precisely to address the regulations. The intention was also to initiate the establishment of future dialogues and collaboration to address pertinent limitations of the regulations including GM labeling. The BUSA delegates tabled the following concerns regarding GM labeling to the Commissioner: The inclusion of GM labeling in the Consumer Protection Act is not necessary as it is already covered by regulations No. R25 of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectant Act, Act No. 54 of 1972, administrated by the Department of Health; To adhere to the current regulations regarding GM labeling will increase the cost of food and impact negatively on the consumer and household food security; The current regulations referred to “genetically modified organisms” as defined in Section 1 of the Genetically Modified Organisms Act, Act No. 15 of 1997. The current commercially approved GMO‟s in terms of the latter are corn, soybeans and cotton. Inevitably, downstream products are not covered and therefore the existing regulations might not be applicable; The regulations are vague and pose interpretation challenges. There are varying degrees of interpretations by various industries in an attempt to solicit compliance mechanisms; There are currently only a few laboratories in the country and these would be unable to absorb the pressure of testing every batch from the farm gate and throughout the value chain. The Commissioner replied by acknowledging the inherent challenges pertaining to definitions and interpretations of the existing GM regulations, as well as, disparities leading to the final draft. As a result, the Commission has been collaborating with the Departments of Health, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Trade and Industry and Science and Technology in an effort to develop more sensible guidelines on GM labeling. Written requests for nominations to participate in the task team entrusted with the drafting process were sent to these departments. The Commissioner furthermore committed that the industry would be consulted on draft GM labeling guidelines before publication dated envisaged to be the end of July 2012. South Africa is seen as a leader in the biotechnology front in Africa, and many neighboring countries look to South Africa for guidance and direction. While South Africa is an ally of the United States in that it has a progressive biosafety policy that is based on sound science and backed by an informed, forward-thinking GMO Council and Advisory Committee, this is an instance where uninformed parties can introduce legislation that will affect the administration of the current GMO biosafety legislation. As other countries look to South Africa for guidance, they may be likely to adopt similar legislations that would affect trade. Biosafety Protocol SA has signed and ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB). The primary responsibility for implementing the CPB has shifted from the Department of Environmental Affairs to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). CPB implementation is meant to be gradual, and accordingly DAFF‟s implementation will be in phases, with the most significant issues being handled first. SA, under the leadership of DAFF‟s GMO Regulatory Office, has modified its GMO Act to comply with the CPB. The CPB will likely slow down trade with its additional bureaucratic requirements but will likely not diminish trade in GMOs in the long run. The regulatory treatment of Stacked Events SA requires an additional approval for GM seeds that combine two already approved traits, such as herbicide tolerance and insect resistance. This requirement means that companies effectively need to start from the beginning of the approval process for stacked events, even when the individual traits have already been approved. The Executive Council has reconfirmed in its first meeting of 2012, that each stack event must be subjected to a separate safety assessment as per the GMO Act, after a request has been received that approved traits when used in a stacked event be acknowledge. The regulatory treatment of coexistence Coexistence has not been an issue that has necessitated the introduction of specific guidelines or regulations in South Africa. The government leaves the management of the approved GM field crops to the farmers. South Africa also does not currently have a National Organics Standard in place. Technology Fees Biotechnology companies operating in South Africa follow essentially the same procedure for collecting technology fees that they follow in America. This policy generally works because South Africa is a signatory to the Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement of the WTO. Trade sources relate that cotton and corn are such that farmers have to buy new seed every year. Farmers sign a one- year licensing agreement, and the technology fee is included in the price of the bag of seed for these crops. Soybeans are more difficult. Technology developers try to collect the fee from the farmers when they deliver the harvest to the terminal. This fee can be difficult to collect because soybeans are open pollinated so seed need not be purchased each year. Also farmers often use soybeans for feed right on the farm so they might never enter commercial circulation. This challenge is not unique to South Africa, but rather is due to the intrinsic nature of the soybean. Permit fees Under the GMO Act, the GMO registrar charges a fee for the different permits that can be issued. Table 7 illustrates the current permit fees payable. Table 7: Permit fees payable Application Fees GMO status certificates R170 (US$25) Importation or exportation of GMO with general release status R420 each (US$50) Contained use GMO‟s R1,239 ($147) Trial release of GMO‟s R2,940 (US$350) General release of commodity clearance of GMO‟s R22,890 (US$2,725) Appeal R4,494 (US$535) Extension permit R367.50 (US$44) Registration of facility R430.50 (US$51) Commodity use permit R252 (US$30) Note: R1 = US$8.40 Section IV. Plant Biotechnology Marketing Issues: Producers, Seed Companies, and Importers South African farmers can be divided into two categories; commercial and subsistence farmers. GM products have a wide appeal with both groups. Each group appreciates that GM crops use fewer inputs and have higher yields. In fact, subsistence farmers find some GM crops easier to manage than traditional or hybrid varieties. Seed companies have found that subsistence growers are an important market for GM crops. Distributors should be from the local area, speak the local language, and they should take time to talk with people and explain the technology and its benefits. When this care is taken, small-scale growers are generally receptive to new technologies. Importers require assurance that no unapproved GM varieties are inadvertently contained in the shipment because South Africa‟s regulation for adventitious presence is only one percent. Yet, in reality their tolerance is zero, since the GMO Registrar‟s office won‟t grant an import approval for a shipment coming from a country that cultivates events that aren‟t approved in South Africa; if the product is milled or otherwise processed it can usually enter. Consumers A survey conducted by the Department of Science and Technology‟s Public Understanding of Biotech organization, shows that most South Africans have no knowledge of biotechnology. This finding is not surprising given that most South Africans are more concerned with the price of food than with how it was grown. What is interesting is that despite this lack of understanding, an average of 57 percent indicated that different applications of biotechnology should continue. Although South African scientists are among their continent's leaders in biotechnology, the survey showed that the term “biotechnology” means nothing to 82 percent of the general public. A similar proportion is unaware of the meanings of 'genetic engineering', 'genetic modification‟, and 'cloning'. The study, in which researchers interviewed 7,000 people in the language of the participant's choice, was designed to be representative of the adult population of South Africa. It reveals that even among the few South Africans who were aware of biotechnology, most were indifferent to it. When asked who they most trust to tell the truth about biotechnology, 24 percent of interviewees said universities, 19 percent said the media, and 16 percent said the government. Respondents were even less likely to trust consumer groups, environmental organizations, religious groups, or the biotechnology industry. The survey concluded that South Africa needs better science communication about biotechnology so that people can have a clearer picture of how it affects their lives. Section V. Plant Biotechnology Capacity Building and Outreach: The South African government generally supports the use of biotechnology products. Transgenic varieties of cotton, corn, and soybeans are approved for commercial planting and 72 percent of corn plantings, 85 percent of soybean plantings and all cotton plantings in South Africa are GM. Agricultural biotechnology holds wide appeal for South African small and commercial farmers as they recognize the financial benefits of fewer inputs and potentially higher yields. FAS/Pretoria‟s program uses South Africa as an example of a country that accepts and uses agricultural biotechnology successfully when doing outreach activities in the region. South Africa‟s GMO adoption story is key in FAS/Pretoria‟s regional biotechnology strategy. The participation of South African researchers, officials, and experts in USDA funded outreach activities as speakers and participants, adds a type of credibility to the biotechnology picture that the U.S. story alone could not attain. To continue to strengthen the South African agricultural biotechnology position by implementing a sustained and deliberate outreach strategy will contribute significantly to harmonizing the regional biotechnology system and lead to less trade disruptions overall. FAS/Pretoria‟s short term goals for biotechnology in Southern Africa include: Stakeholders in southern Africa have the capacity and understanding of agricultural biotechnology necessary to propose science- based regulations. Regulators in South Africa approve for use a local or regionally developed biotechnology event, for example the potato or banana. As part of the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative (Feed the Future), U.S. and South African regulators and companies work with other countries in southern Africa to build support for science-based biotechnology regulations. Below, the activities that have been carried out by FAS/Pretoria in the region since 2010 are listed. These activities are implemented usually through AfricaBio. AfricaBio is a non-governmental, non-political and non- profit biotechnology organization based in South Africa that advocates for stakeholders in the research and development, production, processing and consuming sectors. The bulk of its funding comes from the private sector. USAID and other U.S. organizations provide periodic funding for training and capacity building activities and production of biotechnology informational materials. Adventitious presence workshop (May, 26, 2010): FAS/Pretoria in collaboration with AfricaBio, held a two part workshop on Adventitious Presence in Pretoria, South Africa. The workshop formed part of a study prepared by the National Advisory Council of innovation on “Adventitious Presence of GMOs in commodities”. The National Biotechnology Advisory Committee commissioned the study following approval of the Consumer Protection Act. The purpose of the study is: To increase understanding of regulators, scientists and industry about the requirement for labeling. To determine how this should be done and who would bear the cost. To determine the level of engagement between regulators, scientists and members of the industry. In total, 26 stakeholders participated in the workshop: government departments, seed companies, Grain trade organizations, Silo Association, Public research institutions etc. The presentations and discussion at the workshop demonstrated the value and implications of the need for greater dialogue between the various government departments and the major stakeholders. There is a need to introduce a proactive policy options for adventitious presence that will maintain the uninterrupted flow of trade of agricultural biotech products between South Africa and other countries Biotech study tour to the United States (October 31 – November 16, 2010): FAS/Pretoria partnered with Cornell University to organize a tour for six key regulatory officials from Angola, Mozambique, and South Africa on agricultural biotechnology research, regulation, and commercial application in the United States. The tour built on post‟s ongoing efforts to encourage the adoption of commercial agricultural biotech practices, the adoption of science based systems, and to ensure the uninterrupted flow of trade to the region by consistently engaging lawmakers and regulatory officials. The tour was made possible by a grant from the USDA‟s Emerging Markets Program (EMP). The feedback from the participants, organizers, and speakers was overwhelmingly positive and multi- faceted. The participants had well-structured and lively discussions with scientists, regulators, technology providers and technology users. Equally important, the participants, all representing African countries at different stages of adoption of biotechnology, were able to share their experiences and plans. Three of the five regulatory officials hold adjunct or full professor positions in the area of agricultural biotechnology research in various universities. U.S. Science envoy Dr. Gebisa Ejeta (May 16-21, 2011): A key component of Dr. Ejeta‟s engagement in South Africa was on agricultural biotechnology. Post, in collaboration with AfricaBio, organized a business brunch for Dr. Ejeta with local members of the agricultural biotech community. Dr. Ejeta gave a well received presentation on “Understanding the challenges and opportunities for applying science and food production” highlighting three key ingredients for sustainable economic development, namely, science and technology, human and institutional capacity building and good policy and governance. Assistant Secretary Fernandez (June 7, 2011): Post organized a breakfast meeting for A/S Fernandez with members of the Agricultural Business Chamber (ABC) of South Africa. The ABC is a private organization representing agribusinesses in South Africa. Biotechnology was one of the items on the agenda and the agribusinesses present reiterated the importance of this science in combating food insecurity in Southern Africa. Post also introduced A/S Fernandez to AfricaBio in a very positive lunch meeting. OECD Conference on Agricultural Knowledge Systems (June 15 – 17, 2011): Post collaborated with FAS Paris to send a commercial famer from South Africa to the OECD conference to deliver a keynote address. Unfortunately, due to logistical problems he was unable to attend but his paper titled “Farmers‟ Experience with Biotech Crops in South Africa” was read at the meeting and well received. Food and Environmental Safety Assessment of Genetically Engineered Animals (September 5 – 9, 2011): Post is collaborating with FAS/Washington to send a participant from Biosafety South Africa to the above-mentioned workshop to be held in Buenos Aires. The workshop is sponsored by the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and the United Nations University-Program for Biotechnology in Latin America and the Caribean. Plant Biotechnology: Environment, Food, Health. What Future? Conference (September 19 – 21, 2011): Post collaborated with FAS/Paris to indentified, Mr. Chris Schoonwinkel, a commercial corn famer from South Africa, to participate as a speaker at above- mentioned conference organized by the French association for Plant Biotechnology. Mr Schoonwinkel presented his paper and identified the benefits he obtained since using GM corn. Chris also spoke to the media and was well received. FAS/Pretoria presents U.S. Biotech Experience to South African Parliament (March 6, 2012): FAS/Pretoria, as part of a panel of speakers, was invited to brief the South African Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture on the U.S. experience with biotechnology adoption. Unexpectedly, the Portfolio Committees for Rural Development, Health, and the Environment also attended. This marked the first time FAS/Pretoria had addressed the Parliamentary committees that oversee the priorities and budgets of their respective departments for biotech-related rule- making. Senior Agricultural Attaché, Corey Pickelsimer, presented the United States experience with biotechnology adoption, which included the regulatory framework developed for approving genetically engineered crops and animals in the U.S., and emphasized the need for a regulatory framework that is based in sound-science. After presenting to Parliament, the group travelled to the Stellenbosch University, Institute for Plant Biotechnology where they met with local professors to discuss biotech research in South Africa. Funding for this activity came from Department of State. FAS/Pretoria presents at ISAAA press briefing (March 8, 2012): FAS/Pretoria Senior Agricultural Attaché, Corey Pickelsimer, participated in the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri- Biotech Applications (ISAAA) press release to more than 30 representatives of media and invited guests from various embassies based in Pretoria, South Africa. Dr. Klaus Ammann, a noted expert and keynote speaker, predicted the future of biotechnology as being driven by bio-fortification, or traits that benefit consumers through improved nutrition and other consumer-oriented benefits. This event was funded, in part, by the Department of State Economic Bureau Biotech Outreach Program. Biotechnology Outreach with Emerging Farmers (March 9, 2012): Minister Counselor, Ross Kreamer, and Senior Agricultural Attaché, Corey Pickelsimer, attended the Emerging Farmer Day, a biotechnology outreach activity organized by AfricaBio, where Pickelsimer was invited to make opening remarks. In his remarks, Pickelsimer discussed the link between biotech adoption and increasing yields and cited yield improvements that have occurred in South Africa since the adoption of biotechnology in the mid to late 1990s. Furthermore, he emphasized the need for governments not to limit farmer‟s access to the technology, as it has been proven safe for consumers and the environment. This event was funded, in-part, by the Department of State EB Biotech Outreach Program. Mozambique outreach (April 16 – 20, 2012): During the week of April 16, FAS/Pretoria and FAS/Maputo staff met with a range of biotechnology stakeholders to determine the current status and political climate for the advancement of biotechnology in Mozambique, and to determine the best prospects for biotech outreach among decision-makers, producers, and consumers. Mozambique has shifted from its historical position of refusing to adopt agricultural biotechnology, and has embarked on a path of policy change that could allow for biotech (bt) field trials and eventual commercialization. However, the issue of liability and redress in conducting field trials, where the liability for damages would be placed on the private partner involved in conducting field trials, has created a disincentive for seed companies to partner in bt cotton field trials. This issue has caused multi-national seed companies to be reluctant to assist Mozambique in its efforts to conduct cotton field trials. Outreach to Advance Agricultural Biotechnology Cotton Field Trials in Mozambique (August 2012): Post is working on a proposal to bring Mrs. Betty Kiplagat from Nairobi, Kenya, to review Mozambique‟s Biosafety Legislation and assist in developing a draft decree that addresses the liability and redress constraint. During her week-long program, Mrs. Kiplagat will assess the constraints concerning liability and redress, intellectual property, and other issues in the Mozambican Biosafety Legislation. She will work with the Government of Mozambique to develop a draft
Posted: 21 August 2012

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