Minister of Agriculture of Zimbabwe defends GE crop ban
Jan. 11, 2012
Zimbabwe will not allow the production of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) even if they could help ensure food sufficiency, agriculture mechanisation minister, Dr Joseph Made has insisted.
Made said the government would, instead, concentrate on making available fertilizer, seeds, irrigation and other essential farm inputs to boost food production rather than use cheaper but unsustainable means which have a detrimental impact on the environment.
"Scientific research shows that GMOs contain toxic substances, are less nutritious than non-GMOs and have negative effects on humans and the environment," he said here Thursday.
Made said while GMOs were cheaper to produce, they were costly in the long-term as they contaminated the environment and harmed biodiversity. His ministry would continue to advocate non-GMO farming to ensure sustainability in the agriculture sector, he added.
"Zimbabwe is the largest white maize-seed producer in the world and we do not want to contaminate our local seeds by introducing GMOs," he said.
Made said it was economically unwise for Zimbabwe to practise GMO farming as this would negatively affect regional markets, which did not allow GMOs in their countries.
"Look at what Kenya has done. They have banned GMOs going into their country. Those who advocate GMOs have no scientific background hence they do not know the impact of GMOs on the environment," he said.
There have been growing calls by some stakeholders for the government to lift the ban on GMOs to boost food production.
Farmers are crying foul over lack of credit lines and agricultural support hence lobbying for GMOs to supplement food security.
Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei recently suggested that Zimbabwe reviews its policy on GMOs.
A GMO is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.
These techniques known as combatant DNA technology uses DNA molecules from different sources which are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes.
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