Home Science Tanzania reiterates negative position on importation of GMO seeds

Tanzania reiterates negative position on importation of GMO seeds

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A Tanzanian senior government official has restated that the country will never allow importation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) seeds to protect local varieties from contamination.

“A number of international organizations have submitted applications to bring in GMO seeds in the country but the applications have been turned down,” Hussein Bashe, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, told Xinhua in a telephone interview.

“Even the Seeds Act does not allow the importation of GMO seeds,” said Bashe in reference to the Seeds Act of 2003 that makes provisions for the control and regulation of the standards of agricultural seeds.

He was clarifying on a statement he made earlier in the day that the government has set aside 175 billion Tanzanian shillings (about 75.5 million U.S. dollars) for improving production of local seeds for various crops in the next five years.

On Jan. 13, the Minister of Agriculture, Adolf Mkenda, announced suspension of GMO research trials in the country and imposed exhaustive scrutiny on imported seeds. Mkenda said the decision was made to conserve genetic resources of the country and local seed varieties.

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