STOP OGM Pacifique is an association registered under new-caledonian regulations. It aims at informing about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in food, agriculture, environment and it advocates for the adoption of a specific regulation on GMOs in New Caledonia and the Pacific region. Find more information about us... and be aware about GMOs issues and the Pacific area situation...
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Neither hybrids, nor GMO’s, but farm saved seeds
Interview with Jean-Baptise Chavannes, spokesperson of Mouvement Paysan de Papaye, Haïti (Farmer Papaya Movement), by STOP OGM Pacifique and Inf’OGM, about Haiti’s situation in general after the devastating hurricane Matthew, and about agriculture, farmers and international aid. Read the interview
Papaya is the first genetically modified fruit authorized for marketing. It was developed in the USA, at the Universities of Hawaii and Cornell. It is designed to resist the "Ringspot"virus. Grown in Hawaii since 1998, it now accounts for over 90% of production ... after 20 years of GM expansion and contamination, where are we now? Global overview of GM papaya.
Native to Central America, the papaya, Carica papaya, is now cultivated in all tropical regions. It is a semi-woody giant grass that loves forest soils, rich in organic matter, well drained and aerated. Its fruits are eaten raw or cooked, green or ripe.  Papaya is the 4th most popular tropical fruit with an annual production of over 10 million tonnes. The main producers are India, Brazil, Indonesia and Nigeria, but in terms of exports, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil and Belize dominate the world market. The US is the largest importer of papaya, followed by the European Union, Singapore, Canada and El Salvador  . The roots, leaves, bark and seeds are used in many traditional remedies, and the papain enzyme in the latex, is used in the food and cosmetics industry.
Three varieties cover almost all of commercial production in the most cultivated in all regions of the world : "Maradol" in Latin America, "Tainung" and "Solo" in Asia. The resulting loss of varieties, coupled with poor farming practices (mechanization and use of chemical inputs) has destroyed natural soil fertility and diversity of agro-ecosystems. The application of artificial nutrients as soluble fertilizer creates an imbalance in the soil. The assimilation of micronutrients is disrupted as well as the plant's physiological mechanisms. This reduces the plant's natural self-defense system against the parasitic attacks and viral and fungal diseases, including the Papaya Ringspot Virus (PRSV). The most distinctive symptom of the Papaya Ringspot Virus (PRSV) is the appearance of circular spots on the fruit. PRSV also affects the leaves, reduces photosynthesis and induces a decrease in yield and fruit quality (appearance and taste). It is transmitted mainly by aphids, sometimes by infected seeds. There are several strains of the virus: PRSV-P which has an impact on papaya and cucurbits, PRSV-W only on cucurbits and PRSV-T on zucchini. It is present worldwide with a wide variability depending on its location. Ringspot virus PRSV-P is formed (as the majority of plant viruses) of a coated RNA strand of an envelope, called "capsid", which is composed of a succession of virus-specific proteins. To propagate the virus needs a vector aphids, and a host, papaya: when entering a plant cell, the virus is released from its capsid and produces RNA copies. Then, the cell of the infected plant starts to produce the capsid proteins to coat the virus which thus propagates to the neighboring cells ...
To protect themselves against virus attacks, conventional farmers use a combination of tactics: using seeds or plants "guaranteed" free from viruses, fighting aphids and destruction of infected plants (burned or buried). Hawaii, undertook a much more radical attempt to overcome the virulent virus attack on the island of Oahu in the 1950s. The papaya industry abandonned the existing plantations and moved the production area to the Puna district on the Big island of Hawaii, which remains today the main cultivation area.
But PRSV is not inevitable. In traditional agroforestry, papayas are very little affected by this kind of viral diseases. Fertile soil, a diversified agro-ecosystem and the use of traditional varieties hardy allow plants to defend themselves against these attacks. Traditional farmers have good natural remedies: "papaya leaves tea", for example (with properties similar to liquid manure made from nettles used in temperate zones), can provide a rapid and appropriate response. In Hawaii, organic farmers have developed their own method to effectively limit the spread of PRSV: small plots are cultivated, with organic soil and the use of a silica spray that stops the bites of aphids. Despite these existing natural remedies, it is only the genetically engineered solutions, promoted in the late 90s in Hawaii, that are promoted as the only solution to the PRSV problem : the gene encoding the capsid protein Ringspot virus is isolated and inserted into the DNA of the papaya. The GM plant itself produces the capsid protein Ringspot virus in large quantities which results in destruction of the RNA virus if the GM papaya cells are exposed to the PRSV infection. This mechanism is called "RNA silencing". This type of anti-viral breeding has also been used in the beet, corn, plums, rice and grapes. See: http://www.infogm.org/interference-arn-20-ans-d-autorisations-commerciales-sans-evaluation
IF YOU ARE AN NGO, you can sign these open letters by signing it thanks to the form at the bottom of the page
Inaction on climate change has exacerbated natural disasters in the Pacific, with more frequent and severe cyclones and droughts affecting Small Pacific Island Countries, and rising saline water tables in many places. Australian aid to these countries must help the people affected and not magnify the impacts of natural disasters .
In 2015 after cyclone PAM hit Vanuatu, hybrid, imported seeds were distributed to local farmers, six months later insects devastated the crops. From being chemical free, Tanna province has now becoming pesticide dependent. The ill-adapted seed imports created a demand for chemicals, the start of a familiar treadmill that leads to increased pesticide use, increased pest resistance and damage to the soil and water . More recently in February this year, cyclone WINSTON devastated Fiji archipelago. The Fijian agriculture ministry recently said the cyclone has completely destroyed crops across the island. International and Australian Aid have started to converge in ways that may have negative consequences for recipient communities .
In this context, we ask the Australian government and associated aid agencies to:
The resilience and security of our global food system depends on biodiversity. All seed breeding requires germplasm sourced from cultivars, landraces, heirloom varieties and wild plants. Farmer ownership and control of seed has been limited over the past 80 years by the introduction of hybrids, the creation of the UPOV system and the granting of patents and plant breeders rights over living organisms. Since the 1970’s seed breeding and ownership has been transformed from publicly funded plant breeders and thousands of small seed companies to being controlled by a handful of global corporations. Just three companies own and control 53% of the world’s commercial seed supply – Monsanto is the biggest owning 27% .
The emphasis has been on growing uniform, high-yielding varieties this has meant the loss of 75% of genetic diversity in cultivated plants since 1900. These hybrid seeds depend for their performance on unsustainable levels of oil and phosphate-based inputs but these non-renewable resources will soon be too expensive and scarce to be economic for agricultural purposes . The conditions for catastrophic collapse of the industrial food system results from this narrowing of the gene pool and increases the frequency and intensity of shocks to agricultural systems due to climate change . The damage to world seed stocks has been accelerated in the past 25 years by the creation of genetically manipulated (GM) seeds, and the concentrated ownership and control of commercial seed. To avoid a global food tragedy the conservation of a diverse seed base, in public hands, is essential.
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) supports GM crop development which threatens the integrity of indigenous agriculture. GM corporations offering free or discounted GM and hybrid seed after disasters also undermines local agriculture e.g. in Timor-Leste .
As Australia is not a Party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, its governments and regulators have scant commitment to the safe international transfer, handling and use of GMOs. GM seeds and hybrids dependent on costly inputs must not be used as a Trojan Horse to infiltrate industrial agriculture into vulnerable and unsuitable locations.
For instance, ACIAR’s Seeds of Life project in East Timor is concerned with the introduction of fertilizers and sprays and the commercialisation of seed . Farmers now pay US$1.50 for a kilo of seed that was previously saved and was free. In India the introduction of the seed market has led to indebted farmers who are unable to use their traditional seed, falling prey to moneylenders leading to unpayable debts and suicide. Seed breeding and innovation are important but the Green Revolution replaced locally saved seed with seed dependent on increased fertiliser and pesticide inputs. Now the Punjab has infertile soils and a ‘cancer train’ taking people for treatment when they are made ill by agrichemicals .
None of the Pacific Island Countries have regulations for Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) despite their ratification of the Cartagena Protocol. Introducing GM crops into those countries through aid and humanitarian programs would be contrary to the protection provided by the Protocol and a serious breach of their rights.
Monsanto has already tried to introduce their GM aid elsewhere, for instance to Haïti just after the earthquake in 2010. At that time, the National Peasant Movement (MPNKP), called the entry of Monsanto seeds into Haiti "a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on biodiversity, on Creole seeds ..., and on what is left of our environment in Haiti." It shows that unethical aid can turn the disaster it is supposed to relieve into catastrophe .
The disruption from climate disasters creates openings for industrial seed that may be GM or hybrid, prohibited or useless to save for replanting. These are often treated with neonicotinoid and other systemic pesticides, are experimental or expired, with negative impacts on bees and poor yields. Seed corporations and research institutes skirt the issues by using promotional terms to sell their “improved”, “biofortified” or “climate adapted” seeds. They do not exercise appropriate institutional caution or accept responsibility, as in the case of the discredited “Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture” that provides false solutions    .
Emergency aid or rural development programs must prioritise food sovereignty, safety and security and apply the Precautionary Principle to evaluations of the long-term effects of their strategies . Aid must support seed sovereignty and farmers’ rights, not undermine them.
 http://reliefweb.int/report/vanuatu/one-month-cyclone-pam-seeds-resilience-being-planted-across-vanuatu and http://www.lnc.nc/article/vanuatu/un-nouveau-fl%C3%A9au-ronge-tanna (French)
We are calling on the New Zealand Government and aid agencies to support the Pacific peoples cultural and economic security by ensuring that their indigenous agriculture is protected today and for future generations.
The New Zealand Aid Programme delivers New Zealand’s official support and provides considerable agricultural knowledge and skills to developing countries in the Pacific. It is important that sustainable development includes the ability to maintain indigenous cultural farming methods that include the ability to grow without costly inputs and chemicals as well as being able to save and plant seed for the next season. This will reduce poverty and secure an equitable and prosperous future for the Pacific communities.
Inaction on climate change has exacerbated natural disasters in the Pacific, with more frequent and severe cyclones and droughts affecting Small Pacific Island Countries, and rising saline water tables in many places. New Zealand aid to these countries must help the people affected and not magnify the impacts of natural disasters. 
In 2015 after cyclone PAM hit Vanuatu, hybrid, imported seeds were distributed to local farmers; six months later insects devastated the crops. From being chemical free, Tanna province has now become pesticide dependent. The ill-adapted seed imports created a demand for chemicals, the start of a familiar treadmill that leads to increased pesticide use, increased pest resistance and damage to the soil and water . More recently in February this year, cyclone WINSTON devastated Fiji archipelago. The Fijian agriculture ministry recently said the cyclone has completely destroyed crops across the island. International and New Zealand Aid have started to converge in ways that may have negative consequences for recipient communities .
Dangers arise when this negative Aid undermines the resilience and security of our farming systems and biodiversity. Our people have protected their seeds by breeding from cultivars, landraces, heirloom varieties and wild plants that have the best germplasm. Our economic livelihoods are seriously threatened by the introduction of sterile hybrids, which have been granted patents and plant breeder’s rights.
In this context, we ask the New Zealand government and associated aid agencies to:
Since the 1970’s seed breeding and ownership has been transferred from publicly funded plant breeders and thousands of small seed companies to being controlled by a handful of global corporations . The damage to world seed stocks has been accelerated in the past 20 years by the creation of genetically manipulated (GM) seeds, and the concentrated ownership and control of commercial seed. To avoid a global food tragedy the conservation of a diverse seed base, in public hands, is essential.
The emphasis has been on growing uniform, high-yielding varieties; this has led to the loss of 75% of genetic diversity in cultivated plants since 1900. These hybrid seeds depend for their performance on chemical and phosphate-based inputs, but these non-renewable resources, which are too expensive and scarce to be economic for agricultural purposes .
The conditions for catastrophic collapse of the industrial food system results from this narrowing of the gene pool and increases the frequency and intensity of shocks to agricultural systems due to climate change . GM seeds and hybrids dependent on costly inputs must not be used as a Trojan horse to impose industrial agriculture onto vulnerable and unsuitable locations.
Seed breeding and innovation are important but GM crop development threatens the integrity of indigenous agriculture. GM corporations offering free or discounted GM and hybrid seed after disasters also undermines local agriculture e.g. in Timor-Leste . For instance, the Seeds of Life project in East Timor introduced fertilizers and sprays and commercial seed . Farmers now pay US$1.50 for a kilo of seed that was previously saved and was free. In India the introduction of the seed market has led to indebted farmers who are unable to use their traditional seed, falling prey to moneylenders leading to unpayable debts and suicide. The Green Revolution replaced locally saved seed with seed dependent on increased fertiliser and pesticide inputs. Now the Punjab has infertile soils and a ‘cancer train’ taking people for treatment when they are made ill by agrichemicals . In Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, the National Peasant Movement (MPNKP), called Monsanto GM seed aid "a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on biodiversity, on Creole seeds..., and on what is left of our environment in Haiti." The seeds were rejected. This shows that unethical aid the creates dependence can turn the disaster it is supposed to relieve into catastrophe .
None of the Pacific Island Countries have regulations for Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) despite their ratification of the Cartagena Protocol. Introducing GM crops into those countries through aid and humanitarian programs would be contrary to the protection provided by the Protocol and a serious breach of their rights.
The disruption from climate disasters creates openings for industrial seed that may be GM or hybrid, prohibited or useless to save for replanting. These are often treated with neonicotinoid and other systemic pesticides, are experimental or expired, with negative impacts on bees and poor yields. Seed corporations and research institutes skirt the issues by using promotional terms to sell their “improved”, “bio fortified” or “climate adapted” seeds. They do not exercise appropriate institutional caution or accept responsibility, as in the case of the discredited “Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture” that provides false solutions    .
Emergency aid or rural development programs must prioritise food sovereignty, safety and security and apply the Precautionary Principle to evaluations of the long-term effects of their strategies . International Aid must support seed sovereignty and farmers’ rights, not undermine them.
 http://reliefweb.int/report/vanuatu/one-month-cyclone-pam-seeds-resilience-being-planted-across-vanuatu and
Written by STOP OGM Pacifique and published in Septembre 2015 in the Inf'OGM newspaper
http://www.infogm.org/5845-OGM-caches-dans-pays-et-territoires-outre-mer-PTOM (french version)
The association STOPOGM Pacifique questions the implementation of regulations on GMO crops, seeds, and other food matter in OCTs (Overseas Countries and Territories). The General Director of International Development and Cooperation (DG DEVCO) who is in charge of European – OCT relations at the European Commission, has invited the association to question State Members since: “the OCTs are associated, but not necessarily a part of the European Union (EU) (part IV of the treaty on the functioning of the EU), and by consequence, the legislation of the EU, including the legislation on GMOs, are not automatically applicable.”
The OCTs are dependent on four European Union Members: Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. But, they are not necessarily European territories even if the people can claim European citizenship. Their status, and relations with the EU are defined case by case. Also, their autonomy on matters of regulations and their degree of sovereignty can be quite varied.  . Insularity and isolation are particularly common in these territories spread out all over the world. About 50% of the OCT commercial trade is done with the states with whom they are connected to, while supplementation of foods or agricultural inputs is heavily dependent on the closest regional powers: the United States and Canada for St. Pierre and Miquelon, Australia and New Zealand for New Caledonia, the Americas for the Caribbean Islands, etc.
In New Caledonia, STOP OGM Pacifique spent nearly one year trying to obtain from the authorities clear and reliable information about the application of the
French regulation concerning GMOs and the Cartagena Protocol. New Caledonia is not included in this agreement like most OCTs, implying of course, that those national regulations do not apply in
the domain of OCTs. At the same time, in French Polynesia, the biosecurity rules are blurred: on the Biosecurity authority website it declares that “the importation of GMO species are
unauthorized until the conclusion of their safety by scientific authorities” despite the biosecurity regulation does not mention anything about . The threat
remains serious because French Polynesia maintains agricultural ties with Hawaii, the favored land for multinational GMO companies, where the GM papaya has been cultivated since 1998 (90% of the
papaya crop is GM) and where more than 5000 experiments have been conducted.
Unclear regulations seem to favor some companies. For example, Oxitec, the world’s leader in GM insects, created a project in 2009 in the Caiman Islands where they first introduced GM mosquitoes into the environment without the requirement of the Cartagena Protocol, ratified by Great Britain, was not respected, in particular in relevance to public information . This same enterprise has approached the Pasteur Institute of New Caledonia for GM mosquito trials on the smallest of the loyalty islands, Tiga. It has ideal conditions: Tiga is an island of 10 square kilometers with only 150 inhabitants, and is particularly isolated from the rest of the territory: a mini laboratory, benefited by the proximity of a French research facility, especially during a time when Europe has been confronted with the spread of mosquito borne diseases like Dengue fever or Zika .
Papayas and bananas (in the Pacific), coffee (trials conducted by CIRAD in Guyane ), mosquitoes (Caiman Islands) so many “exotic” GMOs potentially experimented or cultivated in “tropical paradise” and with little information available to EU state members. Even when the regulations on GMOs apply, the OCTs find themselves confronted by two major problems in the realm of agriculture and trade: the difficulty of enforcing adequate control tools and dealing with the fragility of their markets in regional spaces. St. Pierre and Miquelon is a classic case: situated near the North American continent, this island is directly linked to the Canadian economy situated less than 30km away. (It is near Prince Edward Island where Aquabounty produces eggs for GM salmon).
On the other hand, the autonomy of OCTs permits them to have liberty over the legislation on GMO crops or labeling apart from the heavy-handed framework of regulations in the EU. In this way, the ban on the importation of seeds (fruit and grains) was made by the New Caledonian government in 2014, the territory had given value to the preservation of the local agrobiodiversity. In Bermuda, the ban on the importation of Round-up has gained momentum and the farmers hope to obtain a test on GM seeds imported here .
In conclusion, the application of legal texts on GMOs in Overseas Countries and Territories depends in part on the positions of EU State Members concerned and also in part of voluntary local political decisions. Choosing not to regulate the dispersal of GMOs in the OCTs to the detriment of the environment and the rights of consumers is one thing, not arranging for the access of information is another thing entirely. Wishing to shine light on these processes in Europe and in the hidden corners of the world, STOP OGM Pacifique has carried out a project to inventory the regulatory plan of action in 24 European OCTs .
In February of 2014, the New Caledonian Government passed an order to ban the importation of GM fruit seeds, including papaya, into the territory. The ban was put into place in August of 2014. Nevertheless, this new law went nearly unnoticed: no debate on this serious issue…are there GM papaya plants in New Caledonia?
In spite of repeated demands, the institutions of New Caledonia have continued to turn a political blind eye regarding the presence of possible GM papaya plants in the territory and the probable contamination to the traditional local papayas. For several years now, the Office of Agriculture Development of the Southern Province have recommended using papaya seeds from the Hawaiian SunUp variety, the infamous GM papaya developed by the University of Hawaii.
The importation of seeds, and the contamination of local papaya plants is of no doubt, now is the time to inform the population in order to take the necessary steps to stop it. Moreover, given the risks of contamination and the spreading of GM papaya everywhere, it is no longer reasonable to continue to import papaya seeds into New Caledonia at all, even if they are not considered GMO.
Co-existence is IMPOSSIBLE !
And it will ruin the economies of the Pacific Island nations. We invite Pacific Islanders to join our appeal.
By signing this petition, I ask to the New Caledonian authorities:
Peasant seeds – the pillar of food production – are under attack everywhere. Under corporate pressure, laws in many countries increasingly limit what farmers can do with their seeds. Seed saving, which has been the basis of farming for thousands of years, is quickly being criminalised.
What can we do? A new booklet and poster from La Via Campesina and GRAIN documents how big business and governments are moving to stop farmers from saving and exchanging their seeds, and shows how farmers are fighting back.
Control over seeds must remain in peasants' hands. This is the principle, based in the production process, that guarantees the food sovereignty of rural communities and urban populations against multinationals and their enormous profits. Over centuries, peasant farmers have created the thousands of varieties of crops that are the basis of the world's food supply and diversified diets, says La Via Campesina's Guy Kastler.
But for corporations who want to impose laws that will give them complete control of land, farming, food and the profits that could be made from this sector, these time-tested practices around seeds are an obstacle.
For La Via Campesina, the law should instead guarantee the rights of peasants to conserve, use, exchange, use and sell their seeds and protect them from biopiracy.
Big business is carrying out, with the support of governments, a global legal offensive to gain complete control over seeds. This includes not only privatising seeds through new laws, but giving
themselves new rights to physically search farmers' homes and destroy their seeds, says Camila Montecinos of GRAIN.
The Ecologist - Why is Bill Gates backing GMO red banana
Auteurs : Adam Breasley & Oliver Tickell -
The Gates Foundation has sunk $15 million into developing GMO 'super bananas' with high levels of pre-Vitamin A, writes Adam Breasley. But the project is using 'stolen' genes from a Micronesian banana cultivar. And what exactly is the point, when delicious, popular, nutritious 'red bananas' rich in caroteinoids are already grown around the tropics?
Among the controversial projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the development and testing of a biofortified GMO banana developed to boost its iron, Vitamin E and pro-Vitamin A content.
To this end the Foundation, via its Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative, has so far given $15 million to Queensland University of Technology for the program run by Professor Dr James Dale, with a latest tranche of $10 million handed over this year.
The declared purpose is to roll out nutritional benefits across the tropics, but initially to India, Ugana, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda - all countries that sufer from widespread nutritional deficiencies.
And Dr Dale is certainly enthusiastic, telling the Independent that "This project has the potential to have a huge positive impact on staple food products across much of Africa and in doing so lift the health and wellbeing of countless millions of people over generations."
[...] What about GMOs in PICTs? Pacific Island Countries are heavily dependent on food imports, mainly from Australia, Asia and the U.S., where GM crops are already well established, and more worryingly - massive importation of seeds. Therefore, the question must be posed: how can Pacific Island States regulate GMOs without giving up the import of essential goods to their economy? [...]
Full article in the Fiji Agricultural Journal - Volume 54 Issue 2.
STOP OGM Pacifique warmly thanks Dr. Ravindra Chandra Joshi who facilitated the publication of this article.
The New Caledonian association STOP OGM Pacifique launched a petition in May 2014 to say « NO to Australian GMO wheat ».
This petition gathered more than 10 600 signatures, and has been handed over to the New Caledonian Government and Congress.
Since 2005, Australia has been conducting open field testing with a dozen varieties of GMO wheat and barley. The following has resulted :
Wheat is one of the main agricultural products of Australia, with two thirds of the wheat produced being shipped for export. Australia is the sixth largest wheat producer and fourth largest exporter globally.
The start of the commercial cultivation of GM wheat is expected for 2015, which will make Australia the first country to commercialize transgenic wheat. New Caledonia imports more than 95% of its wheat from Australia. There are other Pacific Island countries that are also heavily dependent on this supply from Australia.
Beginning in Mai 2014, at the March Against Monsanto in Noumea, we debuted our petition against Australian GMO Wheat. From that point, our members helped spread the petition information throughout the region, reaching as far away as the US and France. In those 6 months, we also took the opportunity to inform visiting tourists, talk to local politicians…etc.
The Petitioners ask the elected officials of New Caledonia...
... the Australian Government, CSIRO and OGTR:
The petition will be passed on to the Australian Consulate, and from there presented to the Australian Government.
STOP OGM team would like to warmly thank all the people who showed support with their signatures and work on the movement.
We wish to remind the elected officials to follow through with their promises to improve the issue of GMOs in 2015.
Spreading the word about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is the focus of Stop GMO Pacific, a New Caledonian organisation on tour in the Pacific this month.
Frederic Guerin, president of Stop GMO, and Claire Chauvet, its vice president, travelled to New Zealand last week and are in Samoa this week, meeting with other organisations and stakeholders to talk about GMO regulation in the Pacific.
“The idea is to meet a lot of people, try to show them how they can be connected and give advice if we can about how to regulate GMOs,” says Ms Chauvet.
She is concerned many people in the Pacific region are not aware of issues around genetic modification. “What is important for these small island countries is to be aware of the situation, is to be aware that they are not protected, so they can make choices. If they want to grow GMOs, that is all right. But they should know about it because the situation at the moment is nobody knows if the seeds coming into countries are GM or not.”
The two volunteers say they are opposed to the use of GMOs but the focus of their trip is to connect and collaborate.
Mr Guerin says he wants to arm Pacific farmers with the information they need to make informed choices about GMOs. “Nobody knows anything about the situation [in the Pacific]. “The seeds, are they GMO or not? Nobody knows. The food, is it GMO or not? Nobody knows. What we want is to give information.” He says he is okay if people want to grow GMOs but says farmers should learn about them first before making a decision.
The pair travelled to New Zealand learn about the situation here.
GM crops cannot be commercially grown in New Zealand, although applications can be made to test GMOs on a small scale.
A number of approvals for research have been granted to the University of Auckland, although there are currently no GM crop sites.
The importing of GM food is restricted but there are exemptions.
The Food Standards Authority Australia New Zealand has approved the importation of GM canola, corn, potatoes, soybeans and other products into New Zealand.
These products can be sold if labelled correctly.
The authority, a cross-national body that sets food standards for Australia and New Zealand, updated its GMO regulations on October 30.
Mr Guerin and Ms Chauvet are in Samoa this week, seeking to meet with similar organisations, as well as farmers and members of the Government. The threat that GMOs pose to Pacific Islands is more acute, Ms Chauvet says, because of their small size.
Coalition calls for the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to take action
16 May 2014 - Today sees the start of an international call by a broad coalition of organisations to stop the spread of genetically engineered organisms into the environment. The initiative says that binding regulations must be implemented to prevent the release of genetically engineered plants that can persist and invade the environment or lead to transgene flow into native populations or local varieties at centres of origin and of genetic diversity.
The Pacific is composed of many islands, the majority of which are independent states. Most of these areas are heavily dependent on food imports, mainly from Australia, Asia and the U.S., where GM crops are already well established, and more worryingly - massive importation of seeds. Therefore, the question must be posed: how can these areas regulate GMOs without giving up the imports of essential goods to their economy? New Caledonia is currently considering a legal framework that takes this question into account and it will soon be implemented. In the process it seeks to inspire other areas that are in a similar situation.
STOP OGM Pacifique participated to Oceania 21 meetings, regional summit on sustainable development, and warned Pacific Island delegations about GMO issues and the urgent need of GMO regulations to avoid traditional agriculture contamination.
Here is an extract of the final declaration :
Please go here to sign online !
Since 2005, Australia is currently testing in open fields a dozen varieties of GMO wheat and barley in 5 States (ACT , Victoria , Western Australia, South Australia and New South Whales).
In July of 2002, two Greenpeace activists destroyed some of the GM wheat trials, highlighting the following arguments:
Greenpeace was ordered to pay AU $ 280,000 to CSIRO.
Wheat consists of the main agricultural production of Australia and two thirds of the wheat produced is for export. It is the sixth largest wheat producer and fourth largest exporter globally. The commercial cultivation of GM wheat is expected for 2015, which will make Australia the first country to commercialize transgenic wheat.
Concerns over GM crops are also gaining momentum in the Pacific. New Caledonia has recently banned imports of GM cereal and fruit seeds and local association, GMO Free Pacific is pushing for labelling of GM foods.
GMO Free Pacific's President Frederic Guerin is concerned about the lack of information about GM seeds in the Pacific. He says most seeds are imported and farmers do not know whether
they are planting hybrids or GM seeds...
Interview of Frédéric GUERIN of STOP OGM Pacifique in New Caledonia HERE.
New Caledonia adopted yesterday two regulation texts about GMO control :
1/ GMO seeds' importations will be ban for cereals and fruits (not for vegetables), with an immediate effect (it will be effectiv in a few weeks). Biosafety authority hope to be able to analyze the seeds by itself before the end of the year.
2/ A text about GMO labelling has been proposed, it still need to be approved by the Congress. As in Europe, label would be mandatory for products which include more than 0,9% of GMO (per ingredient)... it should also include labelling of meat, eggs, milk... from animals fed with GMOs. The enforcement could not be effective before december 2016... !
Two newspaper articles (in french) :
You might not have heard of Steve Marsh yet but this man could lose everything to protect your right to eat GM-free food. Steve is an organic farmer from a farming community South of Perth in Kojonup, Western Australia. In 2010, the state government of Western Australia lifted the ban on GM canola, allowing for the commercial cultivation of this GM crop for the first time. As a result many farmers, including Marsh’s next door neighbour, began growing GM canola. Subsequently, Steve found GM canola plants spread over much of his farm, containing seed. 70% of Steve’s farm was contaminated and he lost his organic certification.
Also on ABC Radio Australia :
> Supreme Court hears landmark GM crop case
The NGO STOP OGM Pacifique was in Solomon Islands from the 28th of january to the 4th of february. After Fiji and Vanuatu, these missions will allow to create a network for GMO survey in the Pacific Region, and to create a data base.
Here find the map of the australian field trial sites :
More video and ressources on Hawaii Seed
The renaissance in farmer varieties has been accompanied and
carried onwards by a groundswell of awareness on the part of
professional farmers, as well as the general public, of the need to turn
towards agro-ecological cultivation practices. The movement must
meet the challenge of finding its place in a difficult, even hostile,
economic and regulatory environment, the consequence of decades of
productivist agricultural policies subsidising the creation of varieties
meeting exclusively industrial needs.
How do international regulations affect farmer seeds? What are the
threats to farmers’ rights over their seeds, the foundation of food
sovereignty? This dossier aims to shed some light on these questions.
The CEC held a plenary meeting on Tuesday, October 1st to analyze the regulatory text in working groups which were set up a year ago.
On October 3rd, 2012, the Advisory Committee for the Environment (CCE) of New Caledonia* broadcasted the wish to adopt GMO regulations for New Caledonia prohibiting the use of GMOs in agriculture and field trials and to implement mandatory labeling of food, which includes animal feed which contain GMOs.
Working groups formed by CEC met over the period of a year to complete the draft report on health and another on the environment and agriculture. In addition, a regulatory text was written. In collaboration with the Association Inf'OGM , the Caledonian Association of STOP GMO Pacific introduced the text during the plenary session of CEC on Tuesday October the 1st. The Congress of New Caledonia invited Frederick Jacquemart, president of Inf'OGM to be a guest speaker, in order to benefit from external expertise.
This innovative and adapted text was approved unanimously. Innovative, since it takes into account the local context and proposes to be more extensive than the French regulations by including the following:
Informing policy makers of the importance of adopting this text as soon as possible still remains an objective to be achieved. If this text is to be adopted, New Caledonia would become the
benchmark, setting an example for the scores of Pacific island states which are devoid of regulations on biotechnology, and are subjected to strong pressure from economic partners, such as
Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
* The expertise concerning the environment of New Caledonia is shared among several institutions. The Advisory Committee on the Environment (le Comité Consultatif de l'Environnement ) brings together the different stakeholders involved in environmental issues to advise on the text proposed by the Government and the Provinces. The committee may also bring forward its own initiatives in some cases, as in the case of GMOs, when certain subjects are not addressed by the Government. The CEC is composed of institutions (State , Government of New Caledonia , South Province , Northern Province , the Islands Province , the Customary Senate ) , two associations of mayors, ADEME , and environmental associations and consumers. The Scientific Committee (University , research institutes , Pasteur Institute ... ) has also actively participated in the work on GMOs. The association STOP GMO Pacific is not a member of the CEC but was a driver in conducting the research on GMOs, which brought the issue to the CEC mid-2012.
According to current knowledge, four situations can be described :
1) French Overseas Territories (New Caledonia and French Polynesia)
The competence to regulate on economic and agricultural matters was transferred to the local authorities of New Caledonia and French Polynesia from the previous control of France. Therefore, French and European regulations have not been extended to these territories. The Cartagena Protocol, ratified by France, does not apply in New Caledonia and French Polynesia either.
However, despite their ability to put forth such an initiative, neither territory passed any regulations regarding GMOs.
In terms of trade, many products are imported from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the USA. For example, New Caledonia imports 99 % of its wheat from Australia, a country that plans to export genetically modified wheat in 2015 (which is being tested outdoors).
Additionally, very few seeds are produced locally, most of them come from Australia , Asia and Europe. New Caledonia imports its papaya seeds from Hawaii.
In both French Polynesia and New Caledonia, like in the other islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, traditional agriculture has a strong cultural dimension: the roots (Yams, Taro) take
part in the rituals of trade and cultural exchanges between tribes.
The situation in Wallis and Futuna is yet to be studied in detail.
2) Australia and New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand have common regulations on GMOs regarding product marketing and labeling. Growth of GMOs is regulated. To date, there are no commercial harvesting of GMO products in New Zealand but tests are taking place (including in forestry). GMOs are cultivated in Australia (mainly rapeseed and cotton) and many tests are conducted, some of them outdoors.
Australia and New Zealand represent very strong economic partners for many island nations in the Pacific Region. Several associations and foundations are conducting evaluations and campaigns against the spread of GMOs in both countries.
3) Pacific Island States
Cook Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu ... all these island states have participated in a project funded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for the development of National Biosafety Frameworks (NBFs), and ratified the Cartagena Protocol.
According to current knowledge, only Tonga has implemented biosafety regulations.
As a U.S. state, Hawaii is an open field for experiments.
There have been over 5000 experiments undertaken in the region. The University of Hawaii has developed several varieties of transgenic papaya (resistant to a specific virus), and filed a patent on a genetically modified taro. GM papaya is grown for commercial purposes. It is currently being sold. Its fruits and seeds are exported as well.
Anti-GMO activists and organizations are very active in Hawaii.
The spread of genetically modified organisms has never been included in the General Secretariat of the Pacific Community program.
A Gazette Notification issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution mandates packaged food producers to disclose GM ingredients, if used any, in their product. The notification will come into effect from January 1, 2013, officials at the Food and Consumers Affairs Ministry said.
More info about GMO in India HERE
"Local food and sustainable agriculture enthusiasts are preparing for a highly anticipated visit from the internationally acclaimed activist and sustainable farming advocate Dr. Vandana Shiva. From January 15-17, Dr. Shiva will speak to legislators, students, Agricultural specialists and community members on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i about food justice and sustainable agriculture—issues that are gathering momentum as Hawai‘i attempts to address the question of its growing food insecurity..."
Read more on : http://hawaiiseed.org
November 29th at 6.30pm come and bring all your friends to watch a documentary: « Hawaii, Free fields to GMO’s » (in lecture hall 400 at University of
Sponsored by UNC
STOP GMO Pacifique in association with ZCO (a committee in charge of monitoring the West Coast Area) will be showing « Hawaii, Free
Fields to GMO’s »
7pm at Bourail cinema
A debate will take place after the documentary
Listen to the interview of STOP GMO Pacifique on ABC Radio Australia
STOP GMO’s president and secretary will be traveling to Europe: they will go to the European Parliament, to Inf’OGM headquarters in Montreuil, to Greenpeace headquarters in Paris and to the organic festival in Guichen (35).
October 27th, 2012
Jean-François Narbonne, the researcher, professor and widely known expert is at the Rock. Monday at 6pm at Rex he is invited by the Toxicologie and Chemistry Association of New-Caledonia to present his blunt view on GMO’s.
October 17th, 2012
Jacques Pusset, who is in favor of GMO regulations in Caledonia, is currently working with the Environmental Advisory Committee. At the beginning of October this group publicly announced that they wished for New Caledonia to forbid genetically modified seeds and plants to enter the country. Jacques Pusset will tell us why he thinks so and present a study on the dangers of transgenic corn, which was published mid-September.
October 6th, 2012
In response of the controversy taking place in France and urged by the GMO Commission (UFC-Que Choisir, EPLP), now called Stop GMO Pacifique : The Environmental Advisory Committee seized the matter. They gathered on Wednesday and wished for regulations to be created before the end of the year.”
The new regulation would mention the following points:
1) To forbid the use of GMO in agriculture, in aquaculture and testing in fields.
2) To impose labels
3) To force the animal feeding industry to use non-genetically modified row materials.
4) To set up a new system to supervised, control and punish in case of violation of the rules.
Moreover the EAC has set up three working groups to come up with a proposal: on group for environmental matter, on group for health issues and one last group working on writing the new regulations.
The EAC proposal will be published in the New-Caledonia Official Journal.
For more information watch the news on Calédonie 1ère channel (french) HERE
Jacques Pusset, board member of STOP GMO Pacific was invited on the radio Nouvelle Calédonie 1ère.
To listen to the interview (in French) :
GMO in French Polynesia: a big blurring
An article in the daily Les Nouvelles de Tahiti to read online: http://www.lesnouvelles.pf
“Following the publication of the results from the French scientific study on the risks of GMO, questions on presence and monitoring of GMO food on our territory need to be asked. An issue French Polynesia is not yet managing…”
For the first time, the health impact of a GMO and a widely used pesticide have been assessed in a long term animal feeding trial of greater duration and with more detailed analyses than any previous studies, by environmental and food agencies, governments, industries or researchers institutes.
ALL INFORMATION ON CRIIGEN WEBSITE
Unique study : the longest and the most detailed on the toxicity of a GMO and of the main pesticide in the world...
the summary HERE and press release
September the 17th is the day of international action against genetic contamination relieved by OCCUPY MONSANTO.
GMOs threaten our traditional agriculture, biodiversity and food sovereignty... No GMO HERE for our children TOMORROW.
… many thanks to Katia and litlle Enzo!
Stop GMO on Tv !
Stop GMO Pacific was invited by the TV show “parler vrai / talk true” on Caledonie 1ere , Sunday the 2nd.
To watch the programme (in fench): click here.
Why is there no regulation regarding GMO in New Caledonia? What are the risks and threats on health and environment?
To talk about it:
- Jacques Pusset: vice president of Stop GMO Pacific
- Clement Gandet head of plant division at the House of Agriculture
Stop GMO Pacific recently joined Inf’OGM, French based association dedicated to provide citizens with proper information and to analyse worldwide news on GMO and biotechnologies.
Stop GMO Pacific bought the rights of the film “Hawaï, free way / free land for GMO” (in French) and is ready to organize screenings and
debates on request.
More info on the movie on Arte website.
An external support
Writer and physician, alternative peace Nobel price, Vandana Shiva recently agreed to be honorary President of STOP GMO
Pacific. Prominent figure in fighting against big multinationals in biotechnologies patenting the living, she has become the spearhead of the fight against GMO.
Visit Navdanya website:
Additional info on :
STOP OGM Pacifique (STOP GMO Pacific) association has just been created! Its website : www.stopogmpacifique.org is officially launched
Since two years few people have been working, as a commission, on GMO issue in New Caledonia. Indeed there’s actually no regulation on GMO, nor on product “sticker”, nor agriculture in the territory.
Today this commission has become an association and wishes to implement exchanges and dynamism in the South Pacific in order to:
… in New Caledonia, French Polynesia and anywhere else in the Pacific area.
We are looking for info of any kind on GMOs in Pacific. Do not hesitate to contact us !