Good afternoon all, it gives me great pleasure to be with you all and share with you some messages from Africa. I am greatly inspired by this demonstration and your commitment to food systems that are both ecologically sustainable and socially just.
It is ironical that it is Monsanto that has brought me here today. Together with friends and colleagues in Africa and globally such as Bread for the World and many others we have been fighting for more than 15 years now to keep Monsanto and GMOs out of Africa. We have succeeded to a large extent but unfortunately in South Africa where I come from, Monsanto is in occupation of our staple food-maize.
More than 85% of the maize being grown in South Africa is GM-our people are being force fed with Monsanto’s GM maize –without their knowledge and consent. Our farmers have become deskilled and are locked in a cycle of debt and dependence. Our food system is dominated by the corporates and this system is highly inequitable and unsustainable.
During the recent drought, Monsanto’s GM maize has shown that it is unable to meet the challenges of climate change was of no use to our farmers and society. South Africa had to import million of tons of maize from other countries in the world in order to feed our people.
What is worse is that Monsanto together with USAID and the Gates Foundation is putting a great deal of pressure on other African governments to accept GMOs and many governments are changing their laws and policies to make this happen. Bayer, a German company wants to buy Monsanto. This merger will make a bad situation infinitely worse for us all in Africa.
We thus look to you in Germany to join hands with us in global solidarity to block this merger and the corporate occupation of our food system and work together for food sovereignty. Forward to Seed Sovereignty, forward to food sovereignty. Thank you very much for your attention.