uMkhanyakude District Farmers unhappy over GM seed supply

The marchers carry placards depicting their anger over the use of the genetically-modified seeds to produce food crops

THE uMkhanyakude District Small Farmers Association staged a protest recently, in their fight against what they call the ‘hazardous’ effects of genetically-modified (GM) seeds, the Department of Agriculture compels them to buy from Monsanto.

The small farmers came from Mtubatuba, Ingwavuma, Mkuze, Pongola, Tshaneni and KwaNgwanase.

Carrying placards bearing messages like ‘Monsanto’ is poisoning us, the protesters toyi-toyied through the streets of Manguzi town, on their way to Department of Agriculture to hand over their list of grievances against the sale of the GM seeds.

Their outcry has been ongoing for years now, and the farmers argued the crops produced cause diseases, as the seeds used contain harmful organisms, which are produced at the laboratory when the GM seeds are being manufactured.

One of the farmers, Petros Makhanya alleged the use of these seeds, the fertilisers and pesticides cause diseases, when the food produced through these products is consumed.

The angry marchers toyi-toyi through the streets of Manguzi town, voicing their anger over what they call Monsanto’s disregard of the basic human rights

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GMs cause diseases

They insisted the GM organisms have cancer-causing properties and are harmful to the environment.

Makhanya continued, ‘We did research, and it confirmed these GM crops contain diseases. In its research, the government also confirmed our findings.

‘We therefore demand they stop selling us these seeds, but must support us to go back to our old ways of using traditional seeds, which are strong and can be used to produce food for many seasons.’

The farmers claim the GM seeds to be infertile, which means a farmer can plant only one crop and is forced to buy more GM seeds from Monsanto every year.

They further said the GM seeds are expensive, and often put farmers into debt, whereas the traditional ones can be saved, they know their origin and they are natural.

‘The traditional seeds are strong because no chemicals are used to produce them and we can produce many good harvests without buying more seeds,’ Makhanya added.

In its response, the Department of Agriculture said they will look into the matter, and try to find solutions to the problem.


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Steven Makhanya

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