Is Cocoa Value Addition Possible for Uganda?

Last weekend, i had the opportunity to visit a cocoa farmer near me in the town of Kabimbiri, a cocoa veteran called Mr. Henry Lwanga

Lwanga and his family have been growing cocoa for over 10 years, from his great grand parents, to his parents and now he and his kids are growing cocoa. In Uganda, few farmers grow cocoa as most people think the crop is not economically viable. Uganda has an estimated 20,000 hectares of land under cocoa cultivation, mostly in the country’s west and central regions, and the crop supports about 10,000 households.

In 2015, cocoa ranked 4th in Uganda’s exports, with an increase of more than 30billion from the previous year. Currently, the farm gate price for cocoa is 3,000Ugx, per kg while for dry beans its 8,000Ugx. However, cocoa prices fluctuate widely and economic hardship occurs when prices are low.

The Government of Uganda, through the Cocoa Developmet Project, is trying to develop the industry by distributing seeds and new plants to farmers who would like to begin the cultivation of cocoa, or would want to expand their plantations.

Mr Lwanga is the representative of ICAM Chocolate Uganda in his area and receives/buys fresh beans from outgrowers as well as adding value to the cocoa to some extent. On site, he was over 40 fermentation boxes and a drying area. When the cocoa arrives (either from his gardens or outgrowers), fresh beans are fermented for 7-8 days in local constructed boxes before being moved to the drying beds (also located built solar driers). Here, they stay to dry in order to develop that chocolate taste we so love. Would it be easier if the beans went straight to drying? i asked. Well, if we did that, then that chocolate flavour would be lost.

At the drying beds, Mr Lwanga employs local staff who manually go through the beans, picking out the waste and leaving the fresh beans that will be packed and sent to Italy for the rest of the value chain. Already, there is potential for improvement of the chain right from the beginning, from the seedlings (which Mr Lwanga sells) to the picking of cocoa beans at the drying posts.

IMG_7518
cocoa drying beds. The beans stay here and are sorted to separate the chuff from the final export product
IMG_7534
Locally made fermentation boxes. Fresh cocoa beans spend 7-8days here before they are transferred to the drying beds. 

List of Cocoa Products by bi-product

Products from cocoa beans

Once the beans have been fermented and dried, they can be processed to produce a variety of products. These products include:

  1. Cocoa butter – Cocoa butter is the oily liquid obtained by pressing ground roasted cocoa nibs. Cocoa butter is used in the manufacture of chocolate. It is also widely used in cosmetic products such as moisturizing creams and soaps.
  2. Cocoa powder – Cocoa powder is the dry residual solid mass from cocoa butter production. Cocoa powder can be used as an ingredient in almost any foodstuff. For example, it is used in chocolate flavoured drinks, chocolate flavoured desserts such as ice cream and mousse, chocolate spreads and sauces, and cakes and biscuits. Tannin extracted from cocoa powder has been shown to be effective against tooth plagues and at the same time improve the gingival health. Hence, it can be used as active ingredient in cocoa tannin gel toothpastes (Azila et al. 2007).
  3. Chocolates – Chocolate is used as a product on its own or combined with other ingredients to form confectionery products.
  4. Mulch – Cocoa bean shells can be used as organic mulch and soil conditioner or it could be blended with pelletized cocoa pod husks for use as animal feed.

Products from cocoa pod husks

  1. Animal feed – Pelletized dried cocoa pod husk can be used as animal feed (Alexander et al. 2008, Aregheore 2002). The animal feed is produced by first slicing the fresh cocoa husks into small flakes and then partially drying the flakes, followed by mincing and pelleting and drying of the pellets. In powdered form, cocoa husks can also be used as fish (Tilapia) feed.
  2. Potash – Cocoa pod husk ash is used mainly for soft soap manufacture (Taiwo et al. 2001), but may also be used as fertilizer. To prepare the ash, fresh husks are spread out in the open to dry for one to two weeks. The dried husks are then incinerated in an ashing kiln.
  3. Gum – Cocoa pod gum is extracted from cocoa pod husks by alcohol precipitation (Figuiera et al. 1994, Samuel 2006). Cocoa pod gum can be used as binder in the food and pharmaceutical industries for binding pet food, emulsifiers, pharmaceutical pills, etc.
  4. Fertilizer – Cocoa pod husk could also be used as fertilizer for food crops production (Oladokun 1986).

Products from cocoa pulp (or sweatings)

  1. Production of soft drinks and alcohol – In the preparation of soft drinks, fresh cocoa pulp juice (sweatings) is collected, sterilized and bottled. For the production of alcohol or alcoholic drinks such as brandy, the fresh juice is boiled, cooled and fermented with yeast. After 4 days of fermentation the alcohol is distilled.
  2. Pectin – Pectin for jam, jelly and marmalade is extracted from the sweatings by precipitation with alcohol, followed by distillation and recycling of the alcohol in further extractions.

 

One strategy to increase income for cocoa growers is to identify and commercialize new cocoa-based products in addition to the cocoa seed crop.Value added processing of cocoa and cocoa by products in Uganda could significantly increase the income generating capacity of the industry. In addition to unrefined and refined chocolate cocoa butter cocoa wastes such as pod husks, pulp and by products from cocoa butter can be commercially processed to produce a variety of value added products.  By making additional use of the cocoa bean and use of the residue of the cocoa manufacturing process, these products can be processed and marketed locally, providing employment and income for rural communities in addition to the food industry.

Cocoa pod husk poses a serious waste disposal problem in most cocoa producing countries. Yet, several promising commercial products can be obtained from these cocoa byproducts (Figueira et al. 1993). Cocoa pod husk can be transformed into animal feed, potash (used for soft soap making) and pod gum (used as binder in the pharmaceutical industry) while cocoa pulp or sweatings can be used for making juice, soft drink, alcohol and pectin (for jam, jelly and marmalade).

Although Africa supplies nearly three quarters (73%) of the world’s cocoa, consumption of cocoa beans in all of Africa put together is only 3% (Pipitone, 2012), mainly because of the high price of the (mostly imported) finished cocoa products such as chocolates. Making chocolate products affordable to the rural farming communities by producing chocolate from cocoa beans locally using simple recipes for home-made chocolate, creates potential for Uganda’s cocoa industry’s growth.

 

 

Can Urban Gardens in ugandan schools connect youth to the land?

More than 5years ago, i went to visit an urban garden in the most unlikely of places, the middle of Kibera! Kibera is the largest slum in Nairobi, and probably the largest urban dwelling in any African city! Kibera started out as a settlement in the forests at the outskirts of Nairobi, when Nubian soldiers were relocated here by allocation of plots in return for their efforts from the war.

The population of Kibera has since grown, and plans to demolish the place have been unsuccessful. Kibera is heavily polluted by human refuse, garbage, soot, dust and other waste. It is contaminated with human and animal faeces, due to open sewage systems and the humorously called ”flying toilets” (i will leave your imagination to run wild here). The lack of sanitation, combined with poor nutrition among residents, accounts for many illnesses and diseases.

Not to be deterred by this, Victor Matioli and his friends found a way to convert an unlikely space in Kibera into a urban garden that supplied organic vegetables to the people of Kibera.

“This area had a very bad reputation. The youth here were very bad before they reformed. People looked down on us and said bad things about us.They said, those young people are wasting their time, they have come up with an idea that will not help them. They are lazy and are in the habit of reaping unfairly, they will not manage. This brought our morale down, but we pushed on, encouraged each other and managed quite well.” Victor

The boys cleared the plot of all rubbish, and with some help from friends acquired a water tank and the farm was well on its way. They grew  ‘sukuma (a type of spinach), tomatoes, cucumber, and pumpkins which were sold directly to the local community, and being completely organic was /is an added bonus especially in Kenya, which is placed amongst the highest pesticide users in Sun-Saharan Africa!

When i visited Victor and the project, the boys were recovering from a bout of parasites that had attacked their crop and as such they were leaving the plot free to ”breathe” literally and applying organic alternatives to kill off the pests.

I have a dream, to pilot vegetable gardens and permaculture projects in Uganda’s local schools. I envision  young people connecting with the food production systems and taking ownership of food production. However, growing up, agriculture was often portrayed as punishment. When your grades were low or had committed an offense, as punishment you were sent to the garden with a hoe. We grew up seeing agriculture as hard labor, punishment, and something that the people in villages did, not as city dwelling kids. Luckily, i attended a boarding school where 2 days were dedicated to agriculture, we planted, harvested, and even prepared our food – not the cooking part as we were not allowed near a fire. We more or less knew where our food came from, we were expected to take responsibility of planting and harvesting. Nevertheless, when we graduated on to secondary school, this is the one part of our education we were so glad to leave behind!

There is a continued disconnect between people of all ages and where their food comes from. As the fast food industry slowly/quickly advances into Sub Saharan African cities, young people are not only becoming farmers, but they are also not becoming healthy, nourished eaters, and this can lead to rising youth obesity. I believe that one solution is reconnecting young people to the food chain, to see the opportunities and want to get involved in agriculture rather than be forced. It is a combination of students learning to produce food, and acquiring information on nutrition and food security. Students can learn how to grow, process, and preserve food and celebrate it in ways that allow them to recognize the diversity and uniqueness of their local food cultures.

One such initiative is DISC (Developing Innovations in School Cultivation Project), the project is helping youth build leadership skills around farming. One of the project’s former students, Betty Nabukala, managed the school’s garden. She explained that DISC taught the students ‘new’ methods of planting vegetables. Before, she says, “we used to just plant seeds,” but DISC taught them how to fertilize crops with manure and compost, and how to save seeds after harvest. More importantly, Betty explained that she and the students learned that not only can they produce food, they can also earn money from its sale.

DISC was co-founded by Edward Mukiibi, who is now the Vice-President of Slow Food International. Edie is 28 years
old and has been part of leading efforts around Slow Food’s Thousand Gardens in Africa initiative, which is implementing gardens in communities and schools across the continent. “It is time to be proud of being a food producer and revive our lost food traditions in Africa,” says Mukiibi, adding that the Thousand Gardens initiative “is an opportunity for young ones, like me” to strengthen ties between communities but also within communities through the oral exchange of agricultural traditions and practices. Thanks to DISC and Slow Food, many students are no longer seeing agriculture as an option of last resort, but something enjoyable, intellectually stimulating and economically profitable.

To quote Food Tank’s Danielle Nierenberg , ”It’s clear that the future of agriculture is in the hands of young people – whether they’re family farmers, cooks and chefs, entrepreneurs, teachers or scientists. To cultivate that next generation, governments, academics, businesses and the funding and donor communities need to provide the investment and funding they need to nourish both people and planet.”

The Gender Dimensions of Food and Nutrition Security in the context of Climate Change

On UNFCCC Gender Day at COP18/ CMP8, the Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice released a video and a policy brief on the gender dimensions of food and nutrition security in the context of climate change. The impacts of climate change on food security are exacerbating existing inequalities in access to resources, especially for women who are primarily responsible for food production and for feeding their families. This is contributing to an injustice whereby those who have done least to cause the climate change problem are already suffering disproportionately from its impact, which is undermining their right to food, their health and well-being.

Gates foundation spends bulk of agriculture grants in rich countries – tell me something we did not know already

Many people frown when i tell them how strongly i feel about foreign aid, and do gooders, call me skeptical, call me an angry black woman farmer, but i still stand by my views, foreign aid is modern day colonialism

Now imagine this aid in the form of INGOs and NGOs and whatever they wish to call themselves these days, and imagine them infiltrating almost every industry in the developing world. It seems to me like , ”white, near educated, come to africa and work for an NGO’, because let us face it, the only pre-requist for them to manage the INGO is not to be local…

it gets me almost mad when i see the extent at which this ‘do good’ is creeping into agriculture, the last frontier, the one thing developing countries from India, to Cambodia to countries in Sub Sahara africa, it is the one source of livelihood and the only means of feeding our growing populations. Agriculture as a sector has its problems, ie farmers face many problems which are not unique to only developing countries but a Dutch farmer last week was only telling us the difficulties he faces for being organic. Now take these struggling small scale farmers, and add foreign aid/do-gooders to the equation, and the result is a mess, and who suffers the most,  of course, the small scale farmer

Below is an article from the Guardian expressing ”surprise” at the fact that a huge chunk of this ”do-good’ money is actually not spent doing good but serving the countries it really aims to benefit, so please let us stop with the pretense and call it what it is!

Most of the $3bn (£1.8bn) that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given to benefit hungry people in the world’s poorest countries has been spent in the US, Britain and other rich countries, with only around 10% spent in Africa, new research suggests.

Analysis of grants made by the foundation shows that nearly half the money awarded over the past decade went to global agriculture research networks, as well as organisations including the World Bank and UN agencies, and groups that work in Africa to promote hi-tech farming.

The other $1.5bn went to hundreds of research and development organisations across the world, according to Grain, a research group based in Barcelona. “Here, over 80% of the grants were given to organisations in the US and Europe, and only 10% to groups in Africa. By far the main recipient country is the US, followed by the UK, Germany and the Netherlands,” it says in a report published on Tuesday.

Of the $678m given to universities and national research centres, 79% went to the US and Europe, and only 12% to Africa.

“The north-south divide is most shocking, however, when we look at the $669m given to non-government groups for agriculture work. Africa-based groups received just 4%. Over 75% went to organisations based in the US,” says the report.

“When we examined the foundation’s grants database, we were amazed that they seem to want to fight hunger in the south by giving money to organisations in the north. The bulk of its grants for agriculture are given to organisations in the US and Europe,” said agronomist Henk Hobbelink, a co-founder of Grain.

“It also appeared that they’re not listening to farmers, despite their claims. The overwhelming majority of its funding goes to hi-tech scientific outfits, not to supporting the solutions that the farmers themselves are developing on the ground. Africa’s farmers are cast as recipients, mere consumers of knowledge and technology from others.”

The private foundation – one of the world’s largest with an endowment of more than $38bn from Bill Gates, and which supports the Guardian’s Global development website – has emerged in under a decade as one of the major donors to agricultural research and development and the largest single funder of research into genetic engineering. In 2006-07, it spent $500m on agricultural projects and it has maintained funding at around this level since. The vast majority of the foundation’s grants focus on Africa.

It aims to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty but its agriculture work has been criticised for being fixated on the work of scientists in centralised labs and ignoring the knowledge and biodiversity that Africa’s smallholder farmers have developed over generations.

The single biggest recipient of Gates foundation agricultural grants is the CGIAR consortium of 15 international agricultural research centres.

“In the 1960s and 70s, these centres were responsible for the development and spread of a controversial ‘green revolution’ model of agriculture in parts of Asia and Latin America which focused on the mass distribution of a few varieties of seeds that could produce high yields – with the generous application of chemical fertilisers and pesticides,” says the report.

“Efforts to implement the same model in Africa failed and, globally, CGIAR lost relevance as corporations like Syngenta and Monsanto have taken control over seed markets. Money from the Gates foundation is now providing CGIAR and its green revolution model with a new lease of life, this time in direct partnership with seed and pesticide companies.”

The centres have received more than $720m from Gates since 2003. During the same period, another $678m went to universities and national research centres – more than three-quarters of them in the US and Europe – for research and development of specific technologies, such as crop varieties and breeding techniques.

Britain has been the Gates foundation’s second largest recipient, receiving 25 grants worth $156m since 2003. In the US, where universities and research groups have been awarded $880m, Cornell University has received $90m – more than all other countries except the US, UK and Germany.

“We could find no evidence of any support from the Gates foundation for programmes of research or technology development carried out by farmers or based on farmers’ knowledge, despite the multitude of such initiatives that exist across the continent and the fact that African farmers continue to supply an estimated 90% of the seed used on the continent,” says the report. “The foundation has elected consistently to put its money into top-down structures of knowledge generation and flow, where farmers are mere recipients of the technologies developed in labs and sold to them by companies.”

Grain suggests that the foundation uses its money to indirectly impose a policy agenda on African governments. “The Gates foundation set up the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) in 2006 and has supported it with $414m since then. It holds two seats on the alliance’s board and describes it as the African face and voice for our work,” it says.

“Agra trains farmers on how to use the technologies, and even organises them into groups to better access the technologies, but it does not support farmers in building up their own seed systems or in doing their own research. It also funds initiatives and agribusiness companies operating in Africa to develop private markets for seeds and fertilisers through support to ‘agro-dealers’.

“An important component of its work, however, is shaping policy. Agra intervenes directly in the formulation and revision of agricultural policies and regulations in Africa on such issues as land and seeds. It does so through national ‘policy action nodes’ of experts, selected by Agra that work to advance particular policy changes,” says the report.

The foundation, based in Seattle, responded to the report’s main points by saying they gave an incomplete picture of its work. “The needs of millions of smallholder farmers – most of whom are women – are very much at the centre of the Gates foundation’s agriculture strategy. Our grants are focused on connecting farmers with quality farming supplies and information, access to markets, and improving data so that government policies and resources are in line with their needs. Listening to farmers to understand their needs, and to developing country governments to understand their priorities, is crucially important,” said spokesman Chris Williams.

“We fundamentally believe that development should be led by developing countries themselves. We invest directly in the capacity of national governments to execute their own agricultural strategies and join with other donors to fund those strategies through multilateral mechanisms like the global agriculture and food security programme.

“Looking at the primary grantees in our database doesn’t provide a complete picture of where our funds end up and who they benefit. Many of our primary grantees sub grant funds to local institutions in African and south Asian countries, including farmer organisations.

“Many local NGOs in Africa and south Asia are small organisations without the capacity to absorb large grants and often choose to partner with larger organisations to get work done most efficiently. But at the same time, we are also engaged in direct capacity-building funding to ensure these organisations will be more able to administer grants of this size on their own in the future.”

The same is true for research funding, Williams said, adding: “We fund research on crops and livestock that are critically important to the poor, but have historically been neglected by donors. For example, with support from the British government, our foundation and others, researchers at Cornell and the US department of agriculture are now working on improved varieties of cassava, a staple crop in many tropical regions. Partners in Uganda and Nigeria are growing new plants, recording their traits, and sending genetic samples to Cornell for sequencing. This will help breeders in these countries develop new locally adapted varieties faster than ever.”

 

The question therefore remains, do we need to revise the role of foreign partnerships in agriculture and rural cooperation within developing and developed countries?

Supporting Family Farmers in 2014 and Beyond

The year 2014 has been declared IYFF, the international year of family farming by the United Nations General Assembly. It is a worldwide celebration that aims to change the position of farming families, indigenous groups, cooperatives, and fishing families , putting them at the center of agricultural, environmental, and social policies.

The IYFF aims to focus international attention on the men, women, and youth who operate the more than 400 million family farms around the world.

Arnest, a youth farmer with a vision, located in Kayunga District in Uganda
Arnest, a youth farmer with a vision, located in Kayunga District in Uganda

IYFF strives to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farming by focusing global attention on its significant role in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing and preserving natural resources, protecting the environment, improving equality, and emphasizing the important role of women farmers and youth to build a more sustainable food system.

According to Jose Antonio Osaba, Coordinator of the IYFF-2014 Civil Society Programme and Advisor to the World Rural Forum, “the most effective way to combat hunger and malnutrition is to produce food near the consumers- precisely what family farming does.” Through local knowledge and sustainable, innovative farming methods, family farmers can improve yields and create a more nutrient-dense and diverse food system.

And family farming integrates two incredibly important, but often overlooked, groups of agricultural producers: women and youth. 

“In many developing countries, women are the backbone of the economy,” explains Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, FAO. “Yet, women farmers do not have equal access to resources and this significantly limits their potential in enhancing productivity.”

Overcoming deep-rooted inequalities that prevent female farmers from gaining rights to access land, inputs, and economic resources will allow them to farm more productively. According to FAO, providing female farmers access to the same resources as men could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 100-150 million people.

And maintaining young people’s interest in farming as a profession is vital to future food security. Today, youth face global unemployment levels of up to 28 percent and many see agriculture as a burden, not an opportunity. But governments, schools and universities, businesses, and international organizations can cultivate the next generation of agricultural leaders by investing in policies and practices that make rural areas and agriculture intellectually stimulating and economically sustainable.

papayaz

Food for thought:  Farmers aren’t just food producers–they are business women and men, teachers in their communities, innovators and inventors, and stewards of the land who deserve to be recognized for their hard work that supports both people and the planet.

Our contribution: We are 2 farmers in Uganda (Laureene and Arnest), who founded Wakulima Young Uganda, a coalition of youth farmers growing fruit. Together, we grow passionfruit, papaya, pineapples, mangoes; and instead of having to jump through the loops trying to find a European buyer, we are committed to find a local market for our fruit along the value chain. We would like to promote healthy meals in schools, and so our first point of entry is supplying packaged fruit to local schools in Uganda. We are also planning to produce fresh fruit juices and dried fruit, depending on the market

Wakulima Young Uganda works with youth farmers, for youth by youth, and supporting family farms mainly operated by youth and women

We are always looking for partners and welcome input and knowledge that can be applied to the project

What is Synthetic Biology? Engineering Life and Livelihoods

Video Animation Explores Risks of Treating Life as a Machine

 

MONTREAL, 30 Oct. 2014–On the eve of the largest annual gathering of synthetic biologists in the world, ETC Group and the Bioeconomies Media Project are launching a new animated explanation of the workings of this emerging “SynBio” industry, often dubbed extreme genetic engineering. Thousands of scientists, students and vendors will converge at the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Jamboree in Boston to share the latest advancements in what has become a multi billion dollar industry based on the industrialization of life at the molecular level.

 

Increasingly, scientists and civil society are sounding the alarm about the risks posed by unregulated commercialization of SynBio’s untested, experimental and unprecedented manipulation of life forms. The new ten minute video, produced in collaboration with award-winning Canadian animator Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre and narrated by ETC’s Jim Thomas, is the first output from a new Bioeconomies Media Project. Featuring work of researchers from Canadian universities and funded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the video provides a succinct introduction to the science and emerging industry of synthetic biology as well as some of the ethical, biosafety and economic impacts that these “genetically engineered machines” may have.

 

“The synthetic biology industry is already a multibillion dollar enterprise involving some of the worlds largest food, chemical and agribusiness companies,” said Jim Thomas, ETC’s Programme Director. “The leaders of that industry are targeting markets supplied by small farmers in the around the world; this is likely to have real negative impacts on poorer communities in the global south.”

 

SynBio companies have commercialized several products already, including a vanilla substitute grown by synthetically modified yeast, a coconut oil replacement produced by engineered algae, and engineered versions of patchouli and vetiver fragrances. Less than two weeks ago, 194 nations at the United Nations convention on Biological Diversity unanimously urged governments to establish precautionary regulations and to assess synthetic biology organisms, components and products. Many countries had called for a complete global moratorium on the release of synthetic biology organisms.

 IMPACT ON SMALL SCALE FARMERS:

“Small farmers feed over 70% of the world; if SynBio companies cut into the tiny profits they are able to make, it could have a growing negative impact on the world’s food supply,” Thomas added. “Given how little we know about the potential effects of these highly novel life forms, there are also concerns about the risk of synthetic microorganisms escaping into the air and water.”

This prospect of lab-grown food and consumer ingredients is exciting to the 22 billion dollar flavour and fragrance industry. But, especially with those ‘natural’ claims, it’s reason enough for tropical farmers to become alarmed. Every hectare of natural saffron growing in Iran provides jobs for up to 270 people per day, and replacing that with Syn bio saffron now threatens those jobs.

An estimated 200,000 people grow, tend and cure vanilla beans in Madagascar, Uganda, Mexico, and elsewhere. Those farmers already have precarious livelihoods because of chemically synthetic vanilla. But now SynBio vanillin further undermines them.

It also threatens the ecosystems they live in, because vanilla farming is closely tied to rainforest protection. The natural vines require in tact forests to thrive. But if the price of natural vanilla crashes because of SynBio vanilla, farmers may instead resort to instead hacking away the forest to plant rice to survive.

Of course, the synthetic biology industry can’t do away with farmers altogether. Vats of engineered yeast or algae require vast quantities of sugar sourced from corn or sugarcane plantations. This is why so far, all the largest SynBio companies have set up manufacturing plants in Brazil.

Cane sugar from Brazil may be sweet to eat, but it has a very bitter side too. It’s water-hungry, chemical-laden, and is often harvested by workers in slave conditions. The expansion of sugar cane is driving destruction of Brazil’s ecologically precious Cerrado region and it’s displacing other agriculture deeper into the Amazon.

The video released today features the work of Montreal-based animator Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre, who has dozens of film festival awards to her name, most recently for Best Short Documentary at the Saint Louis International Film Festival in 2012. Saint Pierre’s last animation was featured at the most recent Cannes International Film Festival.

 

“Since I started working on this video, I’ve learned that synthetic biology is quite dangerous, and without regulations it can have repercussions for workers and farmers,” said Saint-Pierre. “It was important for me to make something that’s easy to understand, so that anyone can access information about SynBio and process it.”

 

The video can be viewed at the following locations:

http://www.synbiowatch.org/2014/10/synthetic_biology_explained/

http://www.etcgroup.org/synthetic_biology_explained

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C726wUGLdL4

 

For for information, please contact:SY

Jim Thomas, jim@etcgroup.org  phone 1 514 516 5759

Dru Oja Jay, dru@etcgroup.org  phone 1 438 930 4693