Envaya

TAARIFA KWA VYOMBO VYA HABARI Jumatatu 6 July 2015

 ASASI ZA KIRAIA ZAITAKA SERIKALI KUSITISHA KURIDHIA MKATABA/ITIFAKI YA ARIPO – AMBAO UNATISHIA UHURU WA NCHI NA HAKI ZA WAKULIMA

Asasi za kiraia zipatazo 20 zinazounda mtandao wa bioanuai Tanzania unaitaka serikali kusitisha/kusimamisha kwa muda kuridhia itifaki yenye utata ya ARIPO iliyopangwa kutiwa saini katika mkutano wa mawaziri wa nchi wanachama Jumanne, ya tarehe 7.

Mataifa 19 ya Afrika, ambao ni wanachama wa shirika la Haki miliki za kitaaluma la Kanda ya Afrika (the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), wanakutana Arusha kukubaliana kuhusu mkataba/itifaki ya kimataifa ya mbegu ambayo itachukua mamlaka ya nchi kuratibu wagunduzi wa mbegu (Plant Breeders), na kupiga marufuku haki ya wakulima kuhifadhi, kushirikiana na kubadilishana mbegu.

Mtandao wa TABIO unaguswa na itifaki hii kwa kuwa inazima uhuru wa nchi kwa kuweka sheria ya ARIPO. Kwa mujibu wa Itifaki ya ARIPO, haki za wagunduzi wa mbegu zitatolewa na ofisi ya ARIPO kwa wagunduzi husika. Hata hivyo, nchi husika hazitaweza kuingilia maamuzi ya ARIPO kwa namna yoyote ile. Kitendo hiki kitawabana wakulima wetu ambao wanategemea sana mbegu za asili. Itifaki inatishia usalama na uhakika wa chakula kwa kuwa asilimia 75 ya wakulima wa Tanzania hutegemea mbegu wanazozihifadhi wao wenyewe kwa matumizi ya kilimo. Mfumo wa kibiashara wa mbegu unalenga tu mazao machache ya kibiashara na kudhoofisha bioanuai tajiri na muhimu  inayolindwa na wakulima wadogo. Jamii ya wakulima wa Tanzania haiwezi kukubali sera na sheria ambazo hazizingatii na kushirikisha wakulima wadogo au wawakilishi wao.

Ongezeko la kutilia mkazo mbegu za kibiashara limeshindwa kutatua matatizo ya msingi ya mkulima. Badala ya kukandamiza na kuwahukumu au kuwapiga marufuku wakulima wadogo kuhifadhi na kutumia mbegu zao za asili, serikali husika na hasa Tanzania inatakiwa kuwashughulikia wale wote wanaoingiza mbegu feki hapa nchini ambazo zinawapotezea wakulima fedha na muda wao na hatimaye kushindwa kulisha familia zao na taifa kwa ujumla. Zaidi ya asilimia 75 ya mbegu huzalishwa na wakulima wadogo. Mfumo wa mbegu za kibiashara unatakiwa uishi pamoja na ule wa mbegu za asili zinazomilikiwa na mkulima na siyo kuuondoa huu wa mbegu za asili.

Kama wanachama wa Mtandao wa Uhuru wa chakula Afrika (Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa), TABIO inaunga mkono kwa nguvu zote msimamo wa AFSA wa kuzitaka nchi za Afrika kuikataa itifaki hiyo.

Hivyo, TABIO inaitaka serikali ya Tanzania kusimamisha mchakato huu wa haraka wa kuiridhia itifaki ya ARIPO. Maamuzi haya muhimi ni vyema yakachalaweshwa mpaka ushauri wa uwazi na shirikishi ufanywe kwa kushirikisha wakulima na asasi za kiraia. Uhuru wa sheria za Tanzania na haki za mamilioni ya wakulima wake haviwezi kuwekwa pembeni kwa ajili ya maslahi ya kibiashara ya watafiti wa mbegu.

Wasiliana na

Abdallah Ramadhani Mkindi, TABIO Coordinator.

Email: tabiosecretariat@gmail.com, Tel: +255 784 311 179

 

PRESS RELEASE: Monday 6 July 2015

TANZANIAN CIVIL SOCIETY URGES GOVERNMENT TO HALT ADOPTION OF ARIPO PROTOCOL – THREATENING NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY AND FARMERS SEED RIGHTS

Twenty-two civil society organisations that make up the Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity call on Government to halt the adoption of the controversial ARIPO protocol planned for Ministerial signature in Arusha on Tuesday 7 July.

Nineteen African nations, members of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), are meeting in Arusha to agree an international seed protocol that will take away national powers to regulate seed breeders, and criminalise farmers rights to save, share and exchange farm-saved seeds.

The Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO) expresses serious concerns that this process overrides national sovereignty by placing ARIPO above national law. The protocol threatens national food security as 75% of Tanzanian farmers depend on farm-saved seed for their agricultural production. The commercial seed system focuses on just a few cash crops and weakens the rich and important agricultural biodiversity managed and maintained by Tanzanian small farmers. The Tanzanian farming community cannot accept a policy made behind closed doors with no representation of small farmers or their associations.

The increased focus on commercial seed supply fails to address core issues. Rather than criminalise small farmers from using farm-saved seed, government should focus on stamping out the criminal activity of sellers of fake commercial seeds, which are wasting farmers’ money and time, and reducing their ability to feed their families and the nation. Over 75% of seeds planted in Tanzania are farm-saved seed. The commercial seed industry exists alongside the farmer managed seed system, but cannot be allowed to simply switch it off by legislating farm-saved seed out of existence.

As a member of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, TABIO endorses the strong position taken by AFSA calling on African Governments to reject this protocol.

Therefore, TABIO calls upon Tanzanian Government to halt this hasty process of adoption of the ARIPO protocol. This crucial decision must be delayed until a transparent and participatory consultation is carried out with farmers, farmers associations and civil society. The sovereignty of Tanzanian law and the rights of millions of Tanzanian farmers cannot be abandoned merely to satisfy commercial interests.

Ends

Contact: Abdallah Ramadhani Mkindi, TABIO Coordinator.

Email: tabiosecretariat@gmail.com, Tel: +255 784 311 179

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

 The ARIPO Protocol aims to establish a centralised plant variety protection (PVP) regime modeled on the heavily criticised 1991 Act of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 1991). Such a PVP regime will vest enormous decision-making powers in the ARIPO PVP Office and totally undermine the sovereignty of member states to regulate plant breeder’s rights. Crucially, the Protocol will nullify the rights of farmers to freely save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed and other propagating material. This practice is the backbone of agricultural systems in Africa, providing food and nutrition for hundreds of millions of Africans on the continent.                                                               http://www.aripo.org

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) is a continental voice for food sovereignty. AFSA is a broad based alliance of African regional farmers' networks and African NGO networks to bring greater continental cohesion to an already developing food sovereignty movement in Africa.   http://afsafrica.org

Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO) is an alliance of civil society and private sector organizations concerned with the conservation of agricultural biodiversity for livelihood security and food sovereignty. TABIO Members include: ACRACCS, ActionAid International Tanzania, African Biodiversity Network, African Centre for Biodiversity, Biolands, BioRe, BioSustain, Community Water & Environmental Association (COWEA), CVM/APA (Comunità Volontari per il Mondo / AIDS partnership with Africa), Envirocare, ESAFF, MVIWATA, PELUM Tanzania, Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania, Swissaid Tanzania, TANCERT, Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement, Tushiriki, The Vijiji Foundation.                                                     http://envaya.org/TABIO

 

 

 

Setting the Record Straight on Tanzania’s Biosafety Laws


Tanzania has recently amended the Biosafety Regulations, the law which applies to the import, export, deliberate release, confined use, contained use, transit and placing on the market of GMOs and their products. The amendment was driven by persistent pressure from the Tanzanian research community supported by the biotechnology industry. In response to the announcement Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO) has thoroughly examined the amendments, taken legal advice, and consulted with the regulatory authority (VPO Div of Environment). This is what we found:

Strict liability is still in force in Tanzania

Despite the triumphalist rhetoric of the GMO lobby, Tanzania has NOT removed strict liability from its Biosafety Regulations. In fact, strict liability is alive and well and continues to provide a strong legal framework protecting the nation against any harm, injury or loss caused by GMOs. This strict liability applies to all GMO activity including importation, transport, release, and of course commercial sale, – in fact everything apart from research.

What has changed is that a few additional clauses have been added to allow researchers to carry out GMO research, free of strict liability. However the researchers are still liable for any damage they may cause, but under a reduced ‘fault-based’ liability.

[Strict liability means that whoever introduces a GMO is directly legally responsible for any damage, injury or loss caused by the GMO. Fault based liability means that whoever introduces the GMO would be responsible only if it was proved that they were at fault or negligent in carrying out their activity.]

What this means is that now we can expect to see more applications for GMO research submitted to the regulatory authority, for example to carry out confined field trials of GM maize, cassava and cotton. We recognize that field trials will bring new risks, for example gene flow to non-GMO crops and the possibility of unintended release of GM products into the local market and food supply. As such it is critically important that the research activities, particularly confined field trials, are closely monitored and rigorously regulated to ensure the nation’s biosafety.

It is also imperative that the biosafety regulatory authority fulfills its obligations to make every GMO application available to the public upon receipt, and allows sufficient time for comments, and considers such comments, before making a decision.

What the new biosafety regulations say:

The law still states in article 6.-(1) All approvals for introduction of GMO or their products shall be subject to a condition that the applicant is strictly liable for any damage caused to any person or entity.

Also it states in article 56.-(1) Any person or his agent who imports, transits, makes contained or confined use of, releases, carries out any activity in relation to GMOs or products thereof  or places on the market a GMO shall be strictly liable for any harm, injury or loss caused directly or indirectly by such GMOs or their products or any activity in relation to GMOs. 

The new additional clauses read as follows:

6.-(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-regulation (1), strict liability shall not apply to researchers and research activities.

56.-(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-regulation (1), any person or his agent who develops, imports, transports GMOs or products thereof, or carries out any activity for the purpose of undertaking research shall be liable for any harm, injury or loss caused directly or indirectly by such GMOs or their products or any activity in relation to GMOs.

Definitions:

The amended regulations also clarify what is meant by the words “research”, “researcher”, “confined use”, and “contained use” - as follows:

“Research” means a contained or confined use, and the words “research activities” shall have a corresponding meaning;

“Researcher” means a person who undertakes a contained use or confined use;

“Confined use” means any operation undertaken by restricting a GMO and its traits to a specific and defined area of the environment that effectively limit escape or persistence of the GMO or its genetic material in the environment;

“Contained use” means any operation undertaken within a facility, installation or other physical structure, which involves GMOs that are controlled by specific measures that effectively limit their contact with, and their impact on the external environment.

Thus it is clear that any experimental releases other than ‘confined use’ or ‘contained use’ are still subject to strict liability.

........................................................................................................................................

Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity is an alliance of civil society and private sector organizations concerned with the conservation of agricultural biodiversity for livelihood security and food sovereignty.

TABIO contends that GMOs pose unnecessary risks to human health, destroy biodiversity, lead to increased costs for farmers, increase corporate control of the food chain, and fail to combat global hunger.

Email: tabiosecretariat@gmail.com   Tel: +255 784 311 179, +255 774 121 589                

  TABIO

                                      MEDIA RELEASE: 4 April 2014

 CIVIL SOCIETY ALLIANCE CALLS FOR NATIONAL DEBATE ON GMOs

An alliance of 20 civil society organizations and exporters today called for a national debate on GMOs and its regulatory framework so that citizens are well informed before any attempt to weaken biosafety laws is made. Despite assurances that the Biosafety Regulations would stand, it seems yet again Tanzania is bowing to pressure to weaken the legislation protecting Tanzanian consumers against the negative effects of GMOs.

 

Despite the Government's good intention of putting in place a regulatory regime to govern the utilization of biotechnology, the Biosafety Regulations have been attacked as an obstacle to the development, transfer and use of biotechnology in the country. At the heart of the argument is the principle of strict liability, which holds anyone who introduces GMOs liable for any harm, injury or loss caused by their actions.

 

A TABIO spokesperson explained: “The strict liability principle has been misunderstood, distorted and misreported to the extent of creating fear on its application as a sound module of liability and redress for harm, injury or loss caused by GMOs. People need to know exactly what the risks are, and how the existing law protects us, in order to make informed choices.”

 

No scientific consensus on GMO safety. Over 300 international scientists, physicians, academics, and experts strongly reject GM industry claims that there is a scientific consensus on GMO safety and that the debate on this topic is over. "Such claims may place human and environmental health at undue risk and create an atmosphere of complacency," stated Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, chairperson of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER)[1].

 

TABIO cited references[2] to 1400 studies, surveys, and analyses that suggest adverse impacts of genetically engineered crops, foods and related pesticides. They include health impacts, environmental impacts, resistance, pesticide drift, genetic contamination, horizontal gene transfer, unintended effects, as well as references to yields, social impact, ethics, economics and regulations.

 

GMOs in Dar. Meanwhile imported genetically modified food is on sale in Dar es Salaam supermarkets, and on consumers’ breakfast tables. The Alliance asks if the importers have applied for permission from the regulatory authorities. Citizens are advised to check labels, and be wary of imported maize-based products from countries that have no labeling laws.

ENDS

Contacts:

Abdallah Mkindi, TABIO Coordinator: tabiosecretariat@gmail.com Tel: 0784 311 179


 

 

Notes for Editors

Tanzania is among the very few African countries to date to have developed regulatory regimes to govern the adoption and utilization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The regulations were put in place to implement the Environment Management Act, which called for the need to have regulations for procedures and processes for the development, handling and use of GMOs. Regulation 56 (1) reads; any person or his agent who imports, transits, make contained or confined use of, release, carries out any activities in relation to GMOs or products thereof or place on the market a GMO shall be strictly liable for any harm, injury or loss caused directly or indirectly by such GMOs or their products or any activity in relation to GMOs.

 

TABIO position is that the principle of strict liability should neither be weakened nor abandoned in the Biosafety Regulations. It should be maintained to guide the implementation of the Biosafety Regulations so as to provide a balanced approach in utilizing the benefits of modern biotechnology but at the same time protecting human health and the environment from the likely adverse effects that GMOs may pose. Protecting the rights of vulnerable citizens against the profit oriented interests of multinational GM companies whose sole aim is profit maximization at all cost is of paramount importance.

 

Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity is an alliance of civil society and private sector organizations concerned with the conservation of agricultural biodiversity for livelihood security and food sovereignty.

 

The members of the alliance share the aims of conserving biodiversity and supporting sustainable development, promoting farmers’ self-determination and food sovereignty, facilitating exchange of information and experiences concerning sustainable and healthy agriculture policies and practices, ensuring public awareness on issues of concern to the environment, agriculture and biodiversity, and promoting citizen involvement in the decision-making processes which guide the development of biotechnology particularly GMO.

 

Alliance members believe that Biosafety regulations should be based on the precautionary principle and are convinced that introduction of GM crops or animals is not the right solution to fight poverty and hunger.

 

Members of the Alliance

 

  • ACRACCS
  • ActionAid International Tanzania
  • African Biodiversity Network (Kenya)
  • African Centre for Biosafety (South Africa)
  • Biolands
  • BioRe
  • BioSustain
  • Community Water & Environmental Association (COWEA)
  • CVM/APA (Comunità Volontari per il Mondo / AIDS partnership with Africa)
  • Envirocare
  • ESAFF
  • MVIWATA
  • PELUM
  • Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania
  • Swissaid
  • TANCERT
  • Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement
  • Tushiriki
  • The Vijiji Foundation

 

 

Hans Herren responds to the Washington Post

To the editor of the Washington Post:

In your article Tanzania becomes a battleground in fight over genetically modified crops (October 7th 2013) alternative solutions presented by Africans were blatantly missing in a discussion of the yet to be proven potential benefits of GMOs for African smallholders.

With 27 years experience in Africa as Director General of ICIPE and Director of the Plant Health Division at IITA , I can attest that local R&D has developed and disseminated successful sustainable technologies that have not only increased the yields by 200 to 300 percent (dwarfing the expected 25 percent) - as proven in the case of maize using the Push-Pull, or SRI for rice technologies in Eastern Africa, or permanently controlled pest such as the cassava mealybug with natural methods across the continent - but also continuously adapted them to new local challenges, including climate change. Public agricultural research continues to be stifled by low funding. This is especially dramatic in Tanzania, where funding is so low that there is little hope of any impact on rural development and poverty reduction (ASTI IFPRI Report 2012). Given that "80 percent of the people live by subsistence agriculture", this assessment is damning. Combined with the proven high cost-benefit ratios of public agricultural investments, effective solutions need to build upon and strengthen farmers' local knowledge and capabilities. GM crops fail to do that: a common fallacy when drawing from the apparent success in the US to African smallholders. It is in this context that combining indigenous seeds - or even including currently field-tested non-GM varieties from CIMMYT (http://dtma.cimmyt.org/) - with increased diversification, organic manure and sustainable crop management represent proven knowledge- and labor-intensive strategies that can reach the poorest of farmers with lasting social, environmnetal and economic benefits. Attempting to move above the fray of the US and EU battles and polemics, we would be well advised to strengthen support for African solutions, and respect their sovereignty in decision-making.

Hans R. Herren
Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2013, World Food Prize Laureate 1995
President of Biovision Foundation and the Millennium Institute

Tanzania: Government to Endorse GM Maize Trials Soon?

BY FINNIGAN WA SIMBEYE, 15 SEPTEMBER 2013

 LOCAL seeds experts are optimistic about government move to allow field trials of genetically engineered maize which has already proved successful in confined laboratory trials at Makutupora in Dodoma region.

Mikocheni Agriculture Research Institute (MARI) Principal Research Officer, Dr Alois Kullaya told the 'Sunday News' during the week that although it has taken many years to change regulations barring field trials of GM maize, progress is being made to that effect. He hoped that implementation of the plan may come true before end of this year.

"I hope a decision will be made soon, probably this year, I am very optimistic," said Dr Kullaya. MARI has undertaken confined laboratory trials for GM maize in a pilot project which ended in 2009 but strict regulations have stopped field trials of the same.

According to the country's Biosafety Regulations of 2009 set out, it applies a strict liability principle which essentially holds anyone associated with importing, transporting, selling or using a GM product liable for any perceived harm associated with it.

Scientists argue that the "guilty until proven innocent" approach is detrimental to the technology which is already being used by over 17 million farmers globally.

Dr Kullaya warned that while other east African countries like Kenya and Uganda have adopted a different, fault-based regulatory approach where harm and negligence must be proved, Tanzania risks losing out as commercial approved in the two countries will have a negative impact in the country.

"Kenya and Uganda are doing field trials and soon they will authorize commercial production which will also affect us as we cannot stop GM crops from crossing our border," Dr Kullaya who is also Coordinator for Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) initiative noted.

But anti-GMO activists are pressing the government to stay the course and ensure that the country remains a GM free territory for fear of the unknown.

Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity Coordinator, Abdallah Mkinde said, "The stringent law should continue to exist so that whoever introduces GM crops should be responsible for whatever happens on the ground." He said TAB and its 18 member non-governmental organizations is doing a sensitization campaign to the public to warn farmers and consumers about the dangers of growing and eating genetically engineered organism.

TAB is planning a major sensitization meeting with lawmakers to inform them of the negative effects of GM technology and prepare them to shoot down any government bill seeking to amend the 2004 National Environmental Management Act.

The TAB Coordinator said recent research by French scientists which has linked GM foods with cancer is a wakeup call to the government to maintain its strict position on the crops which are also linked with negative impact on the environment.

But with the country facing a rapidly increasing population and climate change affecting food production, the decision to allow drought and disease resistant maize and other staples looks imminent.

Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Engineer Christopher Chiza has already announced that five regions are facing food shortages because of inadequate rains and disease attacks on maize and bananas.

SOUTH AFRICA SHOCKED BY REVELATIONS THAT SOME BABY FOOD CONTAINS GMOs

Tanzanian CSOs say No to UPOV in Africa.