"Biotech gains momentum in Africa"/USAID in Africa (30/8/2004)


The first item is a worrying report on how a Southern Africa Biotechnology Communications Training Workshop organized by AfricaBio in Pretoria, South Africa attracted more than 70 delegates from 10 of the 14 Southern African Development Community countries for training on "communicating biotechnology to the public of Southern African countries". AfricaBio is essentially an industry front group which refuses to disclose its level of industry control and backing.

An an article in the science journal Nature described AfricaBio as, 'along with agribiotech companies and other pro-biotech campaigners... fighting tooth and nail, often by somewhat controversial methods, to spread the word about GM crops... the idea is to improve GM's image.'

The article also says of AfricaBio, 'the group's methods would be considered in some countries to be blatant media manipulation. Webster [AfricaBio's Executive Director] talks about training journalists how to report GM stories, telling them that the term "genetically improved" is more accurate than "genetically modified".'

Yet here is Webster training representatives of a whole array of Souther African countries in "communicating biotechnology". No wonder a spokesman for Monsanto recently described South Africa as its gateway to the continent.

For profiles of all the GM promoters in the following 2 items (Webster, AfricaBio, ISAAA, USAID etc.), see

1.Biotech gains momentum in Africa
2.How USAID is integrating biotech into African agriculture

1.Biotech gains momentum in Africa
August 27, 2004
CropBiotech Update

The acceptance of biotechnology is gaining momentum in Africa as more and more countries realize the potential it offers for sustainable food production as another tool to help eradicate famine and poverty. This was stressed by Prof. Jocelyn Webster, executive director of AfricaBio, during a Southern Africa Biotechnology Communications Training Workshop in Pretoria, South Africa. She said that by the end of 2005 most countries in Africa would have draft biosafety frameworks in place.

The workshop was organized by AfricaBio to train delegates on communicating biotechnology to the public of Southern African countries. More than 70 delegates from 10 of the 14 Southern African Development Community countries, including representatives from Kenya, Cote D'Ivoire, Tanzania and the United States attended. Several delegates indicated that they are requesting their governments to put the necessary legal frameworks in place. They also asked the South African authorities to assist with these procedures.

A consumer survey conducted under the auspices of the University of Pretoria in January 2004 indicated that 58% of consumers in Gauteng and 56% in Cape Town considered GM food to be as safe as conventional foods. The survey also found that respondents had confidence in government regulatory control measures. For more information, contact AfricaBio at [email protected]

2.How USAID is integrating biotech into African agriculture

Hello Colleagues,

Found your organization on the internet. My organization is in need of a Biotechnology Specialist with strong French for a 2 year assignment in Mali.
Attached is an announcement/scope of work. We would prefer a person with private industry experience managing agricultural biotech research and advising governments on biotech policy and biosafety regulations. The other requirements are important as well. Could you recommend a person for this or let me know who I should contact for recommendations. The assignment is on a USAID funded project. I need to line up candidates in the next week.

Persons can view our projects by going to the ncba.coop website and clicking on CLUSA international program.

Thanks so much,

Susie O. Jones
Manager, International Recruitment & Program Support International Programs
LUSA dba National Cooperative Business Association
1401 New York Avenue, NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005-2160
ph: 202 383 5448
fax: 202 638 1374
Biotechnology Specialist

Qualifications: Cooperative League of USA/National Cooperative Business Association (CLUSA/NCBA or CLUSA) seeks candidates for senior level position
as Biotechnology Specialist for project in Sahel West Africa. Position is for 2 years with possible extension to 5 years and is located in West Africa. Requirements include: PhD in biotechnology or closely related field with 15 years experience in biotechnology research and program management;
work experience in West Africa; fluent French; availability to assume new position in September, 2004, at the latest. Persons of all nationalities
will be considered. Applicants should email full, current, chronological resume in English to Susie Jones at [email protected] by July 20. Only
finalists will receive response. EOE

CLUSA has over 51 years experience in 79 developing countries managing projects that strengthen producer associations/cooperatives or community based management of natural resources and health care facilities and programs on civil society participation in democracy and governance.

General: The Specialist will oversee all training and technical assistance activities in the area of biotechnology. In this role, the Specialist will
work closely with USAID, the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Research Institutions and other crop specialists in the project.

Specific Responsibilities:

1. Identify local training needs and opportunities and organize exchanges and short term training for local scientists, policy and regulatory staff in
effective quarantine procedures and provision and utilization of the right tools; Assist in development of bio-safety regulations and policy;

2. Facilitate links between current bio-tech seed development work and pest management;

3. Work closely with private and public regional research institutions; assist with formulation of research projects that use biotechnology to address critical problems faced by local farmers and herders and facilitate links with US institutions (universities and private sector); provide capacity building for Malian laboratories and other institutions and management of research.

4. Identify needs for short-term consultants to assist on specific issues/projects, prepare scopes of work and oversee work of consultants;

5. Coordinate with other project components and crop specialists; advise COP and other project personnel on all biotechnology related issues;

6. The Biotechnology Specialist will coordinate the activities in the Biotechnology/Bio-safety sectors financed by USAID and, ultimately the private sector to ensure synergies, integrated strategies and common vision for the advancement of agricultural biotechnology;

7. Design and implement research protocols for priority agricultural commodities such as cotton, potatoes, rice, tomatoes, sorghum, millet;

8. Link with other consortium partners to improve input supply, particularly improved seed varieties, seed certification, multiplication and dissemination.

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