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African activists have called on their leaders to ban genetically modified organisms at their latest summit in Addis Ababa.
The call comes from African Civil Society, an umbrella group of 400 NGOs, which is asking the African Union to follow November’s decision by Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki to refuse the importation of GM crops.
The ACS say they fear the “patenting of life forms and privatization of agriculture, which has led to dependence by farmers, rural communities and indigenous people on external private and monopolistic seeds suppliers. We are also extremely concerned about the adverse impact of industrial and GM based agriculture on biodiversity and climate change.”
The Kenyan move has been criticized by some scientists inside the country, such as Richard Okoth from Kenyatta University, and researchers tied to multinationals outside who say there’s no risk to humans. They also say it’s vital for Africa do adopt the latest research to improve food security.
But the debate is getting bitter. Some activists accuse the government of South Africa of experimenting with the health of their citizens by accepting the technology. Others say President Obama has betrayed Africans by backing the Biotechnology companies.
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