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The greatest achievement of the genetically engineered seed industry in South Africa has been to create a myth that it has improved on nature. This has enthralled  the government into believing that South Africa can lead Africa and bring benefits of higher yields, improve the environment by requiring less chemicals, feed the poor, and bring huge profits to farmers.

Wynand van der Walt, in his interesting column, Biomonitor of January 2005, in the Farmer's Weekly put forward a well balanced argument for the coexistence of genetically engineered and natural crops. A natural crop is one that is derived from seeds which have been bred by natural sexual reproduction. A genetically engineered crop is one which is manufactured in a laboratory by  non sexual means and contains such things as retroviral markers and other inserts not normally found in nature. He pointed out that the SA Bureau of Standards has since 2001  been dragging its heels over producing standards to make this dream possible. Standards were supposed to have been set to keep the natural and unnatural separate from seed phase to final consumption as a processed product. This involved production, handling and transport.  He says this is known as "Identity Preservation" or IP and requires diagnostic tests and certification.More»

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