Zambia still rejects GM foods despite looming famine

Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- President Levy Mwanawasa has firmly maintained his government's opposition to Genetically Modified Organisms, insisting that no grain of this kind shall be imported to alleviate the common need of more than one million persons now under threat of famine in Zambia.
"All our maize imports will conform to our strict GMO policy and tax considerations," Mwanawasa declared recently while giving the go-ahead to the private sector to import maize (corn), the staple food for most Zambians.
Mwanawasa's strong opposition to GMOs has received widespread support from Zambians and a Southern African regional conference called by Programme Against Malnutrition (PAM) and Bread of the World - another NGO from Germany - resolved in Lusaka last month that Zambia should uphold its strong position on genetic engineering.
With participants from all over Southern Africa, the conference was important to Zambians because it convened when many were beginning to waver in the face of widespread famine on their doorsteps.
The Zambian government said the hunger in the country was a national disaster caused by poor rains during the last farming season disaster.
"I, therefore, appeal to the international community to give every possible assistance to the country in its quest to provide food for its people," Mwanawasa declared when recognising the national disaster in Zambia.
Bernard Namachila, the permanent secretary in charge of food distribution to hunger stricken families estimates that 1.
7 million Zambians are presently faced with starvation in 34 districts of the country.
In spite of this gloomy situation Mwanawasa has held on steadfastly to his firm belief that the introduction of Genetically Modified crops in Zambia will not help but harm the agricultural capacity of the country.

13 december 2005 19:53:00

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