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2-Plants: South African NGOs oppose Syngenta GE maize application

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TITLE:  Groups oppose the sale of modified maize seed
SOURCE: Business Day, South Africa, by Nasreen Seria,3523,1216849-6099-
DATE:   Nov 05, 2002

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Groups oppose the sale of modified maize seed

LOBBY groups opposed to genetically modified crops have lodged objections 
to Sygenta Seedco's first application to sell such maize seeds in SA.

Biowatch and Safeage lodged objections with the agriculture department 
claiming that Sygenta had misled the public about the approval of the 
insect resistant gene in other countries.

The groups also said Sygenta's application for both field trials and the 
commercial release of the modified maize seeds was irregular and "nullified 
the purpose of running field trials".

Government has already granted permits for the planting of such maize, 
cotton and soya.

The application will put Sygenta in competition with Monsanto, the leading 
producer of modified seeds in the country.

Sygenta Seedco's MD Vincent Volckaert said it had applied for both field 
trials and commercial release of its modified maize called Bt11 because it 
did not expect to be granted the commercial permit immediately.

Volckaert said imports of food and animal feed containing a strain of the 
gene used by Sygenta was already approved in SA, but this would be the 
first time the gene would be approved for planting.

Biowatch and Safeage complained that Sygenta had not followed "basic 
practice" in launching a double application for field trials and the 
commercial release of the seeds.

Safeage has estimated that the country could lose out on R3bn of export 
revenue if the market for modified commodities continues to grow in SA.


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