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3-Food: GE maize discovered in imports to Zambia



------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GMOs
SOURCE: The Times of Zambia, Editorial
DATE:   15 Sep 2005

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GMOs

THE issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in whatever form is
supposed to be a closed subject in Zambia.

Government has made its stand known and there should be no debate nor
reports of GMOs ever crossing our borders.

The reasons are simple. It is primarily for the good health of Zambians
and protection of our agriculture sector.

GMO products are hazardous to health while seed engineered in
laboratories are bound to contaminate our agricultural system.

Studies have also shown that GMOs can cause resistance to anti-biotics
and compromise immunity in people with poor health according to recent
studies by Zambian experts.

The GM maize was also rejected on grounds that it had the capacity to
affect, and may even wipe out local organic varieties.

Therefore, to hear that some unscrupulous Zambians are busy smuggling
mealie-meal produced from GMOs calls for stern action against the offenders.

In the last week alone, Government has confiscated genetically modified
mealie-meal.

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Mundia Sikatana, expressed sadness
at the development which must now be investigated thoroughly and any one
breaking Government directives made to face the law.

But the story did not end there as the Millers Association of Zambia
(MAZ) also uncovered some shrewd businessmen who have been illegally
importing genetically modified mealie-meal from a neighbouring country.

MAZ chairman, Caleb Mulenga, has since called on Government to be on red-
alert and look out for illegally imported and contaminated GM mealie-meal
and take stern action against culprits.

That is the only way Zambia will protect its agriculture sector while
ensuring its citizens enjoyed healthy lives.

We feel Government should come down heavy and punish any one breaking its
directive on genetically modified foods.

Anyone breaking the law must be charged accordingly since the offence
somehow borders on economic sabotage and endangering lives of Zambians.

While we hail Government and the MAZ for their quick response, we feel
more needs to be done.

We are of the opinion that the completion of an K800 million laboratory
at the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research for
testing GM products should be hastened.

Equally, on the fast track should be anti-GMO laws and training of
experts to man the laboratory in Chilanga, near Lusaka, so that alien
seed and products are shipped out the moment they are detected.




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