PRESS RELEASE, 07/03/2019
There is public outcry over news that the ban on GMO food in Zambia has been lifted. Questions were raised as to “whether the ban on the importation of Genetically Modified Organisms food stuffs (GMOs) is still in effect” in The National Assembly on 27 February 2019.
According to the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), by presence of the Biosafety Act 2010, imported food containing processed products of GM crops, are allowed into Zambia, as long as they go through a strict application and safety testing process by the NBA, full public consultation processes are upheld, and final products are labeled.
LIVE GMOs ARE NOT ALLOWED IN ZAMBIA – i.e. GENETIC MODIFICATION OF LIVING ORGANISMS, AND THE PRODUCTION OF GM CROPS REMAINS PROHIBITED.
The Minister of Health responded to questions in the National Assembly on the 27 February 2019, with some open-ended comments related to the safety of consuming food products containing GMOs (27.02.2019)1. These statements have now been picked up by the international Pro-GMO Public Relations (PR) groups that are publishing with triumph, that Zambia has changed its position on GMOs. This is false, fake news, generated and pushed by the Biotech industry.
Zambia’s NO-GMO position has not changed and no legislative changes have taken place. An initial Pro-GMO PR article was published internationally by The Genetic Literacy Project2 with fake news on Zambia, 4 March 2019. Those who look a little below the surface see that this ‘project’ is funded by ‘a front group that works with Monsanto on PR projects without disclosing those ties’ (The United States Right to Know has very detailed record of these dealings3). It is the same family of Biotech promoters, as those funding the African Biodiversity Network of Experts (ABNE), who are supporting the Zambia Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) and NBA, to draft the new guidelines for live release of GMOs.
31 CSOs, farmer and consumer groups wrote to the MoHE and copied all other relevant Ministries in December 2018, raising serious objection to the bias interference in Zambia’s legislative drafting processes, and resultant undermining of human rights. Many Zambians are horrified by the NBA announcements that even some licenced GMO containing food products are sold in Zambia. Many of these are unlabelled and the authority lacks necessary capacity to control this. The country certainly does not have the capacity to regulate the release of live GMOs, nor cover the opportunity costs of lost export agriculture markets, long term public health bills and destruction of the farming sector to the power of corporate control. CSOs, research institutions, concerned consumers, farmers and churches, continue to call on Government to protect Zambia’s people, their health, environment and the national economy.
For more information contact: ZAAB Chairperson, Mr Emmanuel Mutamba