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Pambazuka News invites articles on the vexed question of GMOs and food sovereignty in Africa to help readers make sense of the debate in order to effectively play their roles as citizens

The debate about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is loud and highly polarised across the world. On the one hand there are the supporters, who are convinced that GMOs are the key to food security and that the claims made against them have no basis in science. They argue that, “The science surrounding GM crops is well established. Not only are these plants safe to grow and consume, they’re even better than conventional crops because they allow farmers to produce more on less land by defeating weed, pests and diseases.”

The supporters say there is just too much scaremongering about GMOs. While regulations to protect the environment and the health of consumers should be maintained, “What needs to be rethought, however, is blanket opposition to the very idea of GMOs.”

On the other hand are the implacable opponents, who reject the scientific claims about GMOs as being at best dubious. On the basis of these concerns, nearly 50 countries around the world have either banned GM crop production outright, or have put in place extremely tight restrictions on the production and use of GM products.

The critics point to a consistent, multi-pronged attack on democracy that seeks to distort the debate over the GMO issue, hijack institutions, co-opt ‘public servants’ and pass off vested commercial interests of agribusiness giants as the ‘public good’.

The GMO sector has reportedly deployed its institutions and mouthpieces in government, academia and the media in a broad strategy to misinform and manipulate public. It is necessary that in the ongoing debate and struggle for food security in Africa that African people, particularly women who engage in the bulk of food production, are central to this public dialogue and construction of the future of self-reliance in food production on the African continent.


• How can and should African farmers organise to control food sovereignty in Africa through their associations, practices and with African governments?
• Since African women make up the bulk of rural workers and farmers to what extent are they represented in debates and programmes against GMOs and for greater control over land issues and food sovereignty?
• What is the truth about GMOs?
• Are GMOs what Africa needs now to enhance food security?
• Is there any basis for the health, environmental and socio-political concerns that have been repeatedly raised by opponents of GMOs?
• What evidence exists that key GMO players like Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer are driving a sinister capitalist agenda for agribusiness?
• What links, if any, exist between the push for GMOs and land grabs in Africa?
• Are governments in Africa being manipulated by powerful governments and lobbies to pass laws and policies favourable to GMOs that will in the long-run expose people to health and environmental risks and destroy established food systems?

Pambazuka News Editorial Team invites articles on these and related questions for a special issue on GMOs and food sovereignty in Africa planned for July 2014.


LENGTH OF ARTICLES: Articles should be written in Microsoft Word, Font: Times, size 12 and be between 1000-3000 words

Please submit a biography of two lines at the end of your article and send it to: [email protected]