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6-Regulation: Zambian government completes GMO guidelines

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TITLE:  ZAMBIA: Govt completes GM guidelines
DATE:   Jan 8, 2003

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ZAMBIA: Govt completes GM guidelines

JOHANNESBURG, 8 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - The Zambian government has completed its 
proposed guidelines on genetically modified (GM) food and expects to submit 
these to cabinet later in January, Abel Chambeshi, Minister of Science and 
Technology told IRIN on Tuesday.

The guidelines, which are expected to fill a legislative void on the 
controversial subject, were drawn up after President Levy Mwanawasa banned 
the import of GM food aid last year, calling it "poison". The ban and the 
subsequent order to withdraw in-country stocks left food relief agencies 
cutting rations and scrambling to find alternate food sources for about 2.9 
million people.

"We've done all the preliminary work and and as ministers have completed 
all the requirements. There may be a few amendments but the guidelines will 
be presented to Cabinet. It will then become a parliamentary bill and will 
then become law," Chambeshi said.

He would not elaborate on the contents of the report but said parliament 
would reconvene towards the end of January and it was hoped that a bill 
would be in place by February.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) has received a permit to remove 
10,000 mt of the total 15,000 mt GM stocks it had in Zambia to Malawi.

"We are in the process of bringing the smaller quantities from the 
districts to Lusaka so that they can be fumigated before being 
transported," David Rhody, WFP emergency coordinator in Zambia said.

"We have found replacement stocks from other donors and cash contributions 
but because the process was slow, October, November and December were 
difficult months," he said.

"However, January, February and March, which are the critical months, have 
a reasonably good pipeline [due to stocks expected to arrive from South 
Africa and Tanzania]," he said.

The stocks would be a welcome relief in Malawi where WFP has increased its 
list of people in need from 2.3 million to 2.8 million for this month.

Malawi, like most Southern African countries is also concerned about GM 
food but has decided to allow distribution if it is milled.

WFP spokesman Abdelgadi Musallam said that only GM relief food that is 
milled would be distributed in January, the planting season. The government 
had helped by paying the Kwacha 10 million (US $117,500) needed to convert 
existing GM grain stocks to flour while WFP took care of the rebagging.

WFP still needs US $190 million out of a total donor appeal of US $507 
million to provide relief food for almost 14 million people in six 
countries in Southern Africa.


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