Knowledge for Development

Gates Foundation and Monsanto to develop GM seeds for small farmers


Date: 08/12/2009


Monsanto has committed to providing the seeds without royalty payments. KARI is now one of the main partners in a new programme funded by the Gates Foundation that will attempt to develop GM maize that can withstand drought. The plan is to distribute the seeds to small farmers in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Normally Monsanto’s patented seeds come at a high price, which has inspired an endless stream of vitriol from activists who accuse the company of exploiting poor farmers for obscene profits. This time, farmers will receive the seeds royalty free – indefinitely – as part of Gates’ push for a “green revolution” in Africa. GM seeds are not yet legally available in East Africa. Regulations for Kenya’s Bio-Safety Act are still being developed. Nonetheless, Monsanto has been testing GM cotton with KARI for three years already, and plans to launch trials for GM corn next year. (Source: Ratio Magazine, 26 November 2009)

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