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NBA HAILED OVER SEIZED GMO SEEDS

By NOEL IYOMBWA

PARTICIPATORY Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Zambia has commend the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) for seizing more than 2000 tons of GMO maize seed from various storage facilities in Lusaka, Central, Southern and Northern Provinces.

 Country Coordinator Muketoi Wamunyima said that GMOs are not only a great threat to the food system, biodiversity, and seed sovereignty but also a threat to human and animal health, with unknown long-term effects that could be difficult to reverse or correct.

Mr Wamunyima said the seizure of the GMO maize is indicative of the need for strong legislation that will protect biodiversity.

“This seizure further supports our continued call, as Civil Society Organizations, to the NBA to proceed with caution in the review and amendment of the NBA Act. Section 36 of the Biosafety Act of 2007, for example, that highlights the issues of redress and liability. This needs to be strengthened to allow for prosecution of perpetrators.

“Zambia’s maize and other cereals are known for being non-GMO which has contributed to the boost in export of cereals to other countries.

“We call upon the NBA to not only destroy the seized GMO seed, but also take punitive measures against the perpetrators (suspend import permits), make known who the perpetrators are, as well as review its process of allowing GMOs to be imported into the country, “ he said.

Mr Wamunyima observed that gaps exist in the capacity to monitor and test GMO products adding that the country has not done enough research to determine the effects of GMOs on humans, animals and the environment.

He noted that extra diligence is required by the authority and all stakeholders and that the current review of the Biosafety Act should seriously take into consideration the threat of GMOs and ensure that we protect our country from this invasion that could spell disaster for the country. We also urge the NBA to continue its vigilance at borders and in country.

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