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3-Food: US makes non-GM food donation to Zambia

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TITLE:  US makes non-GM food donation
SOURCE: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
DATE:   Feb 6, 2003

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ZAMBIA: US makes non-GM food donation

LUSAKA, 6 Feb 2003 (IRIN) - The US government on Thursday donated 30,000
mt of non-genetically modified (GM) sorghum and bulgur wheat to Zambia,
struggling to cope with widespread food shortages.

The US $15 million donation comes at a time when the Zambian government
had appealed for more relief food. In the national budget presented last
week, Finance and National Planning Minister Emmanuel Kasonde set aside
US $14 million for the commercial purchase of maize.

US ambassador Martin Brennan said the food aid was intended to "assist
Zambia's most vulnerable people during the current food shortage". Close
to three million Zambians are facing food shortages following two
consecutive poor harvests, and concern has been raised over the impact of
a possible drought this year.

The donation of sorghum and bulgur (partly cooked and dried wheat grains)
follows a wrangle last year over the government's refusal to accept US-
supplied GM maize on health and environmental grounds.

The World Food Programme (WFP) will distribute 10,000 mt of the US
shipment, while their partners CARE International, and the church-run
World Vision and Catholic Relief Services will distribute the remainder.

The US donation has beefed up existing stocks of relief food. "What I can
say right now is that we have a healthy food pipeline, we are receiving
thousands of tonnes of relief food every other week," WFP spokeswoman
Sibi Lawson told IRIN.

Wheat and sorghum are generally accepted by Zambians, despite the fact
that white maize is the staple food consumed by most households.