Farmers in northern KwaZulu-Natal March Against Monsanto.

Farmers and Biowatch said no to GMOs and marched against Monsanto

On Saturday 21 May 2016, Biowatch South Africa and rural farmers in northern KZN joined the global March Against Monsanto, saying loudly and clearly: No to GMOs; No to industrial agriculture; No to the corporate control of our seeds and our food.

The March Against Monsanto (MAM) is a global protest against Monsanto and GMOs. Although this global protest targets Monsanto because it represents some of the worst products and practices, it is also aimed at other agribusiness multinationals responsible for the globally damaging industrial agriculture system. The other major corporations profiting from toxic agricultural chemicals and GMOs are Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow Agroscience and Dupont Pioneer.

There is increasing evidence of GMOs creating environmental and health risks and having dubious economic advantages: promised crop yields failing to materialise, increased dependency on pesticides, and contamination of farmers' seeds.

"Even those farmers and consumers who reject GMOs and industrial agriculture are at risk of having their seeds, water and soil contaminated by unwanted genes and poisons because these products cannot be contained once they have been released in the environment," said Rose Williams, Biowatch director.

"The corporate control of seeds and the food system makes farmers and society dependent. GMOs are yet another technology that furthers the industrialisation of agriculture, replacing ecologically and culturally appropriate and diverse traditional seeds, foods and farming methods to make farmers and consumers dependent on a limited and expensive range of corporate products. This industrialisation makes communities economically vulnerable to hunger and puts the entire food system at risk of collapse in the context of disease outbreaks and climate change," she said.

The products of industrial agriculture, including GMOs and pesticides, cannot co-exist alongside agroecological farming and must be rejected.