• Tewolde - quote
  • Former head of Novartis - quote
  • American farmers - silos - quote
  • image
  • Rice and new scientist - quote

Response to "What the Green movement got wrong” broadcast November 4th 2010, on Channel Four in the UK.

The letter is signed by over 50 individuals and organisations from the global South, including such well known environmental campaigners as Vandana Shiva and Nnimmo Bassey as well as grassroots activists from across the developing world.



Dear Dorothy Burn,

As representatives of southern organisations working across the world to improve food sovereignty in our countries, we write to express concern at the airing of “What the Green movement got wrong” on November 4th, on Channel Four. This programme promotes the role of genetically modified products in food security in the global South, but on this issue, there are only two Southern-based commentators, Florence Wambugu and Shanthu Shantharam, both of whose employment is funded by major GMO companies.

We are tired of the corporate campaigns which claim to speak for the global South and allege that western-based non-governmental organisations are imposing their beliefs about genetically modified food on our countries. They imply that because of opposition to GM, countries such as Zambia have suffered food shortages which have led to many deaths, and many more have not received access to technology that could ease their food shortages.

We’ve said this before and we will say it again: Where it has been adopted, GM hasn’t worked to deliver food security for poor or vulnerable communities in the Global South. There is no evidence that it will do so in the future – drought and salinity resistant GM crops do not exist – and are unlikely to appear any time soon. After 15 years of GM crop commercialisation, only two types of technology have been successfully commercialised: those resistant to a particular type of herbicide, and those resistant to one specific type of pest.

Neither of these technologies in any way address the causes of hunger. But the expensive and patented seeds have made seed saving illegal,taking away poor farmers’ most basic rights and resources. The changes in farming brought about by GM crops have led to spiraling debt, evictions and loss of land for poor farmers in the South.

GM technology has not been developed to aid poor farmers or to feed poor people but for products for the international trade in agricultural commodities – soya, oil seed rape, maize and cotton.

These products are overwhelmingly used as animal feed, for use in processed food, for the international trade in textiles – and most recently in the United States to grow maize for Government subsidised bio-fuels, not to feed poor people anywhere in the world.

It is GM that is the western imposed idea, not the resistance to it.

We call upon Channel Four to ensure that all programmes that claim to speak for the global south give our views fair representation and to ensure they do not facilitate corporate-led campaigns which are motivated by profit alone, and not for the good of real farmers, poor communities or the environment they depend on.


Dr Vandana Shiva

Nnimmo Bassey
Activist and Poet, winner of the Right Livelihood Award

Chabari Zaverio
Rural Initiatives Development Programme (RIDEP)

Mariann Bassey
Environmental Rights Action (ERA)

Anne Wanjiku Maina
African Biodiversity Network (ABN)
Thika, Kenya

Debjeet Sarangi
Living Farms

Kiambi Daniel Karaigua
Rural Initiatives Development Programme (RIDEP)

Maria José
Centro Ecológico

Samuel Muhunyu
Network for Eco-farming in Africa (NECOFA)

Alhassan Fatawu Alidu
RAINS – Regional Advisory Information Network Systems

Mariam Mayet
Africa Centre for Biosafety
South Africa

Zachary M. Makanya
PELUM (Participatory Ecological Land Use Management)

Patrice Sagbo
Republic of Benin

Vanessa Black
Earthlife Africa – eThekwini branch
South Africa

Jack Wainaina
Youth Action for Rural Development

Gebremedhine Birega Dagaga
Ethiopian Society for Consumer Protection (ETHIOSCOP)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Josea S. Dossou-Bodjrenou
Nature Tropicale, member of IIUCN
République du Bénin

Oussou Lio Appolinaire
Ingénieur en Gestion Communale et Aménagement du Territoire

Sue Edwards
Institute for Sustainable Development

Million Belay
MELCA Mahiber

Bakari Sadiq Nyari
RAINS – Regional Advisory Information Network Systems

Rose Williams
South Africa

Lawrence Chiro
Coastal Forest Conservation Unit
Kilifi, Kenya

Mumbi Murage
Kenyan Biodiversity Coalition

Aggrey Okunda
MIBK and Resource Consult

Patrick Ochieng

Ndagha Shirleybrown Oyiakah(Ms)
Global Village Cameroon

Mphatheleini Makaulule
The Mupo Foundation and Dzomo la MUPO (Voices of the Earth)
South Africa

Martin Muriuki
Institute for Culture and Ecology

Angela Wauye
Agency for Cooperation & Research in Development (ACORD) International

Rebecca Tanui
BEACON-Building Eastern Africa Community Network

Alageh Romanus Che
Federation of North West Mixed Farmers’ Unions (FENOWEMIFU)

Bernard Kitonyi
Inades Formation Int. Kenya Office

Jack Rware
Kubukubu Agro Organic Products

Dr. Shahid Zia
Pakistan Dehqan Assembly
Islamabad, Pakistan

Karangathi Njoroge
Maendeleo Endelevu Action Program (MEAP)

Mr Mwaura
Sustainable Livelihood Initiative Development and Empowerment (SLIDE),
member of Kenya Biodiversity Coalition

Francis Kamau Njanga
Kenya Biodiversity Coalition

Agnes Yawe
PELUM Association Regional Desk

Wairimu Kariuki
Rural Women Initiative

Dr. Farzana
Lok Sanjh Foundation

Balram Banskota
Nepal Peasants’ Federation (ANPFA)

Kiama Kaara
Kenya Debt Relief Network – KENDREN.

Shree Ram Shrestha
Agro-biodiversity Development Association

Dr Olanrewaju Oginni
Consumer Protection Organisation of Nigeria

Adnan Bashir
Adnan Bashir Productions (Film & Documentary)
South Africa

Bridget OConnor
Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre

June Nderitu
Anglican Church of Kenya – Directorate of social services

Glenn Ashton
South Africa

Camila Montecinos
GRAIN America Latina

Carlos Vicente
Accion por la Biodiversidad

Ramon Vera
Red por la defensa del maiz

ANA – Articulação Nacional de Agroecologia (National Colation of Agroecology)