African Counter-Statement to Monsanto

An invitation to stand in solidarity to resist gene technology


From Delegates to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Plant Genetic Resources



During the past few weeks European citizens have been exposed to an aggressive publicity campaign in major European newspapers trying to convince the reader that the world needs genetic engineering to feed the hungry. Organised and financed by Monsanto, one of the worlds biggest chemical companies, this campaign gives a totally distorted and misleading picture of the potential of genetic engineering to feed developing countries.

We, the undersigned delegates of African countries negotiating at the FAO on farmers rights, access and benefit-sharing, strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries are being used by giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environment friendly, nor economically beneficial to us.

It is time to look at some of the facts about the company behind this campaign:

In the advertising campaign Europeans are asked to give an unconditional green light to gene technology so that chemical corporations such as Monsanto can start harvesting their profits from it. We do not believe that such companies or gene technologies will help our farmers to produce the food that is needed in the 21st century. On the contrary, we think it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable agricultural systems that our farmers have developed for millennia and that it will thus undermine our capacity to feed ourselves.

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In particular, we will not accept the use of "Terminator" or other gene technologies that kill the capacity of our farmers to grow the food we need. We invite European citizens and colleagues from the South to stand in solidarity with Africa in resisting these gene technologies so that our diverse and natural harvests can continue and grow.

We agree and accept that mutual help is needed to further improve agricultural production in our countries. We also believe that Western science can contribute to this. But it should be done on the basis of understanding and respect for what is already there. It should be building on local knowledge, rather than replacing and destroying it. And most importantly: it should address the real needs of our people, rather than serving only to swell the pockets and control of giant industrial corporations.



Jean-Marie Fondoun Cameroon Delegate

Georges A. Agbahungba Benin Delegate

Paul Therence Senghor Senegal Negotiator

Koffi Goti Cote d’Ivoire Delegate

Mokosa Madende Congo Democr. Delegate

Jean Jacques Rakotonalala Madagascar Delegate

Juvent Baramburiye Burundi Delegate

Worku Damena Ethiopia Delegate

Gietaturn Mulat Ethiopia Delegate

M.S. Harbi Sudan Delegate

Eltahir Irbrahim Mohamed Sudan Delegate

Maria A. Calane Da Silva Mozambique Delegate

Kohna Nganara Ngawara T Chad Delegate

Nkeoua Gregoire Congo Delegate

Mugorewera Drocella Rwanda Delegate

H. Yahia-Cafrif Alegria Delegate

Abebe Demissie Ethiopia Delegate

G. P. Mwila Zambia Senior Agricultural


Dr. S. H. Raljtsogle Lesotho Director Research


Naceu Hamza Tunisia Delegate

Hambourne Mellas Morocco Delegate

Elizabeth Matos Angola Delegate

Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher

Ethiopia African’s Group Spokesperson

Shadrack Mlambo Zimbabwean Delegate




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Additional Statement by Zimbabwean Delegate:

" Africa should not be used as a testing ground for technologies and products which have been developed elsewhere. We reserve our sovereign right to test these technologies ourselves, examine their effectiveness and compatibility to the environment our region."

Signed in support and solidarity by:

Action Aid

Austrian Mountain Farmers Association

Baby Milk Action

Basque Farmers Union

Banana Link


Catholic Institute for International Relations

Centro Internazionale Crocevia

Coordination Paysanne Européenne

Christian Aid

CSA (Comitato Scientifico Antivivisezionista).

Farmers Link

FIN (Fondo Imperatrice Nuda contro la Sperimentazione Animale)

Find Your Feet

Friends of the Earth

The Gaia Foundation

Genetic Resources Action International


Greenpeace International

The Green Party

The Green Party Agriculture and Food Working Group.

The Green Group of the European Parliament

GEYSER organization, France


prof. Valeria Negri, Instituto di Miglioramento Genetico Vegetale,

prof. Egizia Falistocco, Instituto di Miglioramento Genetico Vegetale,

prof. Luisa Lanfaloni, Instituto di Miglioramento Gentico Vegetale

dr. Nicola Tosti, Instituto di Miglioramento Genetico Vegetale

dr. Paola Taviani, Instituto di Miglioramento Genetico Vegetale

dr. Fiorella Pimpinelli, Instituto di Miglioramento Genetico Vegetale

Dr. Beatrix Tappeser, Institute for Applied Ecology, Frieburg


The Pesticides Trust

World Development Movement

Women’s Environmental Network

WWF-Italy and Fulco Pratesi (president)