Thirty-one civil society organizations aligned to the agriculture sector on Thursday said they will fight all attempts to introduce genetically modified crops by authorities in Zambia.
The organizations, under an umbrella body, the Zambia Alliance for Agro Ecology and Biodiversity, said they are concerned on the safety and impact on agricultural systems and socio-economic well-being of farmers if genetically modified crops are introduced in Zambia.
In a letter to the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), a government agency that regulates Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the country, the organizations said they will not accept any maneuvers to introduce genetically modified crops in the country because the move will have negative effects on agriculture.
The organizations said the decision was bad because the risk of the genetically modified crops far outweighs the benefits.
Juliet Nangamba, Project Manager of the Community Technology Development Trust, one of the organizations, said in a statement that recent moves by the regulator to radically change the country’s position on genetically engineered organisms in food and agriculture sector will not be accepted.
The regulator came under attack last year when it granted licenses to some firms to import GMO foods despite the country being a non-GMO although the regulator defended its decision.
In 2002, Zambia banned GMOs, with late President Levy Mwanawasa describing them as “poison.”
He later rejected GMO maize donated by the United States government at the height of a food shortage caused by drought. Enditem