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3-Food: Zimbabwean politican supports Zambias anti-GE food position

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TITLE:  Africa can't afford to starve - Zim envoy
SOURCE: The Post, Zambia, by Noel Sichalw
DATE:   Nov 5, 2002

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Africa can't afford to starve - Zim envoy

AFRICA cannot afford to starve when it can grow enough food to feed its 
people, Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Zambia Cain Mathema has said. 
Commenting on Zambia's rejection of the genetically modified (GM) foods, 
High Commissioner Mathema said Zambia had decided what was right for its 
citizens. He said considering the implications that GM foods might cause to 
the people, Zambia had made the right decision that should be respected by 
other countries. "As Africans, we should not be accepting anything that 
America offers to us as a gift."

The continent is so rich that we can grow enough food to feed our people. 
Zambia should take this decision according to the implications that GM 
foods may cause to the people who might consume it. So far, nobody knows 
the exact negative effects of the GMOs," High Commissioner Mathema said. 
"People may consume it now, but who knows what might happen later?" High 
Commissioner Mathema said GMOs were produced by rich countries that aimed 
at making profit with the hope that African countries could buy it due to 
the severe hunger situation. "GMOs are not given as a charity donation."

They are produced by companies that aim at making profit from the sell of 
the products. If we are not careful, GMOs might have a negative impact on 
our hybrid seeds and this might negatively affect our original African 
products at the international market," he said. High Commissioner Mathema 
said the European Union (EU) market was strict on GM products and that the 
African products could be affected if GM products were adopted. "If African 
countries adopt the use of GMOs, they can therefore, have negative affects 
in terms of competing with other countries on the international market," he 
said. High Commissioner Mathema said if African countries started using GMO 
seeds, they could end up buying their agricultural seeds from American or 
European countries as the original seed would be destroyed.

He said government should grow much maize, being the staple food and store 
it in bulk in order to avert any hunger situation in future. "There is no 
reason why Zambia should fail to grow enough food for its people. Look at 
countries like Russia, they have stocks of food that can last for the next 
ten years. If we therefore, start thinking on these lines, we can also 
avert any hunger in our countries," said High Commissioner Mathema.



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