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BUSINESS & POLICY: President of Zambia National Farmers Union calls for reversal of GMO policy





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TITLE:   ZNFU CALLS FOR REVERSAL OF GMO POLICY

SOURCE:  The Post, Zambia

AUTHOR:  Chiwoyu Sinyangwe

URL:     http://www.postzambia.com/post-read_article.php?articleId=16058

DATE:    25.11.2010

SUMMARY: "Zimba said GMOs could also help to improve productivity of small-scale farming and make a dent on rural poverty. ?In other countries where bio-technology, especially for cotton, has been used, our small-scale farmers are able to produce 10 times more than our current levels of production with less inputs, implying less production cost leading to huge profits to our small-scale farmers,? said Zimba."

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ZNFU CALLS FOR REVERSAL OF GMO POLICY

THE ZNFU is proposing that Zambia should embrace genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to improve productivity of certain crops.

Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Jervis Zimba said calls for a stark reversal of the stance taken by the country a few years ago follows low competitiveness of the local agriculture sector.

?Nearly four years ago, the government made a strong stance against GMOs. We, however, now believe that time has come to open the discussions on GMOs more so now that bio-safety regulation board has been set up under the Ministry of Science and Technology where ZNFU is ably represented,? Zimba said during the launch of the 2010/2011 agricultural planting season held at Mweetwa farm in Mumbwa on Tuesday. ?While cautiously mindful of the public perception about GMOs, as a country we must not be left out particularly in exploring production-enhancing technologies which can be tried in Cotton production to start with.?

Zimba said GMOs could also help to improve productivity of small-scale farming and make a dent on rural poverty.

?In other countries where bio-technology, especially for cotton, has been used, our small-scale farmers are able to produce 10 times more than our current levels of production with less inputs, implying less production cost leading to huge profits to our small-scale farmers,? said Zimba.

The government banned the production and consumption of genetically modified crops, saying this would impact negatively on the country?s agricultural potential.