Wednesday, October 19, 2011

GM Food Aid in Africa

Kenyan farmers gather corn Photo: Curt Camemark
In August the government of Kenya fired the head of its National Biosafety Authority for expediting the process to import milled food aid which might have contained genetically modified organisms.  Kenya has been put in a position where they must decide whether to jeopardize their food aid from the United States or accept genetically modified foods despite resistance. 

In 2002 Zambia announced it would not accept GM food in any form.  African governments adopted tight restrictions on the international movement of living GMO crops and seeds under the Cartagena Protocol on Biodiversity. Ethiopia has been hesitant about GM aid "Why shouldn't we be wary of this technology and its possible long-term health impacts, if the EU [European Union] is. If it is not good for them, why should it be good for us?" said Tewolde Egziabher, Ethiopia's director of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique have said they would allow GMO foods on the condition that they have been milled to lose their reproductive capabilities and pose less of a threat to local crops. This debate has gone on for nearly 10 years, since African countries and several South American counties like Bolivia, Guatemala and Nicaragua began to resist GMO food imports.

Read more about the debate over genetically modified food aid in Africa at IRIN News.
USA: Poor Countries Reject GMO Food Aid 6/14/2002
Friends of the Earth International is concerned with African countries' right to choose

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