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3-Food: African consumer leadersÕ conference on biotechnology & food security



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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  International Conference Mulls Genetically Modified Organisms In 
Zambia
SOURCE: Xinhua via COMTEX
        sent by AgBioView, USA
DATE:   Nov 18, 2002

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International Conference Mulls Genetically Modified Organisms In Zambia

LUSAKA -- The African consumers leaders conference on biotechnology and 
food security began here Monday, with the Consumers International charging 
that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have penetrated the African 
markets through the back door.

At a meeting called to address the issues of food security and labeling of 
GMOs, Consumers International (CI) Regional Office for Africa Director, 
Amadou Kanoute, Monday claimed investigations carried out by his office 
found that unlabelled genetically modified (GM) maize was sent to Africa by 
the United States through the United Nations.

He said a request was sent by his organization to the then US president 
Bill Clinton to have food aid labeled in an informative manner and also to 
seek prior consent of the recipient countries in cases where aid contained 
GM food. Kanoute demanded governments and service providers should label 
all goods whether they are for sale or aid, for recipients to make informed 
choices and to conduct an environment impact assessment before those goods 
are marketed or donated.

He said the governments should also create the market conditions on the 
availability of a variety of goods and services for recipient countries to 
choose from, whether they are for sale or aid as agreed under the Cartagena 
Protocol brokered in 2000.

"We are said to be anti-business. We are said to be anti- progress. No. We 
are not anti-business. We are for good business. We are not anti-progress. 
We are for sustainable progress, progress that benefits the majority," 
Kanoute said.

Zambian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Webster Kamwendo, who spoke at the 
same meeting, challenged scientists and consumers leaders to find ways to 
collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that the rights of consumers 
are not trampled on.

"The challenge before scientists is to develop technologies that are 
relevant to our conditions and our way of life. The challenges before you, 
our consumers leaders, is to protect the consumers from misleading notions 
that biotechnology is a solution to all our food security problems," 
Kamwendo said.

The four-day conference has brought together 56 participants from consumer 
organizations, farmers' organizations, research institutes and government 
institutes from 25 countries.

Issues that will be deliberated at the conference include the role and 
status of biotechnology in Africa, biotechnology and ethical issues, 
economic issues and trade of biotechnology, and preliminary findings of a 
research, commissioned by Consumers International regional office for 
Africa who are the organizers of the conference.


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  African Consumer Leaders’ Conference on Biotechnology & Food 
Security
SOURCE: Consumers International, Africa Office
        http://www.consumersinternational.org/News/display.asp?id=
169&regionid=135&tag=X&type=news&langid=1
DATE:   Nov 8, 2002

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African Consumer Leaders’ Conference on Biotechnology & Food Security

Organised by Consumers International’s Africa Office and hosted by the 
Zambian Consumers Association (ZACA) Lusaka, Zambia, 18-20 November 2002

Africa is fast becoming the new fighting ground between the proponents and 
opposers of biotechnology. At stake is the expansion or containment of 
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) within Southern Africa.

Is the American biotechnology industry and the US government responsible 
for exploiting the crisis in Southern Africa as a means of pushing unwanted 
and potentially unsafe transgenic foods onto the region? Or, are Southern 
African governments, such as Zambia, placing millions of people threatened 
with starvation unnecessarily at risk by rejecting such food aid?

The African Consumers’ Leaders Conference on Biotechnology and Food 
Security – the first of its kind in the region – will bring together 
leading international and African experts in the field of biotechnology, 
leaders of 22 African consumer organisations, farmers’ organisations, 
research institutes, and key government representatives. They will address 
the urgent issue of food aid, food safety and labelling of GMOs and the 
implications of biotechnology for food security in the African region.

The participants at the conference will play a critical role in shaping the 
positions and stances of key representatives of civil society and the 
consumer movement throughout Africa.

They will examine the individual, social and environmental implications of 
biotechnology, such as the potential for dependence on patented seeds; the 
potential threat to sustainable agriculture, food security and food safety; 
and whether there is an urgent need for labelling (currently required in 
Europe but not in Africa).

The conference will take place at the Chrismar Hotel, Lusaka, Zambia.

Notes to editor:

Facilitators or speakers:

Amadou Kanoute, Regional Director, Consumers International, Africa office;
Michael Hansen, Research Associate, Consumer Policy Institute (CPI), a 
division of Consumers Union (CU) publisher of Consumer Report magazine;
Dr. Raj Patel, policy analyst at Food First, an Institute for Food and 
Development Policy based in Oakland, USA;
Miriam Mayet, GreenPeace;
Dr Samuel Wakhusama Wanyangu, Kenya-based International Service for the 
Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA);
Dr Mae Wan Ho, Director, Institute of Science in Society;
Dr. Vandana Shiva, Director, Research Foundation for Science, Technology 
and Natural Resource Policy, India
Samuel Ochieng, Consumer Information Network (CIN), Kenya;
Cheik Cissokho Mamadou, Senegal
Dr Webster, Africa Bio, South Africa
Lusaka EU Representative
USA Embassy representative
Lusaka FAO Representative
Lusaka WHO Representative
Representative Lusaka WFP

Consumers International’s Africa Office represents 41 Consumers 
Organisations in 29 Countries in the African Region. The Zambian Consumers 
Association is one such member.

Consumers International is a federation of consumer organisations dedicated 
to the protection and promotion of consumers' rights worldwide through 
empowering national consumer groups and campaigning at the international 
level. It currently represents over 250 organisations in 115 countries.



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