This move really does seem of note in a country that intense industry pressure, a weak biosafety regime and biotech lobbyists acting in a regulatory capacity, have turned into the industry's gateway to Africa.
The African Centre for Biosafety has now been in existence for just over 2 years and after our consistent badgering through inter alia submissions and objections regarding GM applications, and in the light of the recent successful application by Monsanto to win approval of its stacked GM cotton, we were about to re-think our work. But we have now just heard that all applications for commodity imports into South Africa of GMOs have been halted pending the outcome of a study that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has just commenced, which is looking at the impacts of GM imports.
This study is something that civil society groups in South Africa have long been calling for, many petitions have been filed to this effect by SAFeAGE in the past, http://www.safeage.org/
This is quite a significant victory for us and a blow for industry, taking into account the manner in which the entire GM issue has been handled in SA todate, with industry running amok here.
Please, note, however, the assessments of applications for commodity imports are continuing, but no decisions will be taken.
For further information, please contact Elise Koekemoer from the DTI, agro-processing.
The African Centre for Biosafety