CottonContributed by Chisomo Kamchacha.

As science and technology continues to provide humans with many advances, it has been discovered that some of those advances are bad and some of those advances are good. Readers may have different opinions on the contents of this post as it could be subjective. However, the conviction behind this post is found on the principles of ecology which have their emphasis on common ways of life. In the words of Michael Carlson in his poem titled  ‘Nature,’ he said “nature is mighty, nature is strong, nature is usually always right, nature is rarely ever wrong, nature is beauty, nature is moody, nature is smart, nature always has the greater part, nature is blue, nature is green, nature is every colour possibly seen, nature is true, nature is beaming, nature is dreaming, nature is in every place, nature is always with grace, nature is true, nature is you, nature is me, nature will forever be free.”

Recently, Monsanto applied to the Malawi Biosafety Registrar, to obtain a general release permit for its genetically modified (GM) cotton, MON 15985, commonly known as Bollgard II. This application by Monsanto is the first of its kind to commercialise GM crops in Southern Africa, apart from South Africa, where transgenic crops have been cultivated since 1997. MON 15985 is genetically engineered to be insect resistant (i.e. target insect pests that eat it will die). The target pests of MON 15985 are Lepidopteran insect pests.

GMO Conference

A publication was made in the local news papers, requesting for the general public to respond on the application. Kusamala’s own Chisomo Kamchacha was a part of the team that organized a workshop of civil society organizations which assessed the Monsanto application and organizing a submission paper. An alliance of 18 civil society organisations, representing inter alia, small holder farmers, the church, organic movements, non-governmental organisations, and the media in Malawi, led by Commons for EcoJustice, lodged a substantive submission to the Malawian GMO authorities, vehemently opposing Monsanto’s application to obtain a general release permit for its genetically modified (GM) cotton, MON 15985, commonly known as Bollgard II. 

A full paper regarding the decision of the coalition can be obtained by following the following link.

CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION AGAINST THE GENERAL RELEASE OF GM COTTON