GM Food Aid Pressure on Angola Again
From: Gaia <[email protected]>
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
In April last year, Angola made its position clear to the World Food Programme, stating that it would only accept GM-Free or milled food aid. At the time, the WFP responded by suggesting that this position would mean less food aid for hungry Angolans. Outraged, more than 60 groups representing farmer, consumer, environmental and development organisations from 15 African countries wrote a letter to the WFP, accompanied by a report called "GM Food Aid: Africa denied choice once again." The groups objected to the WFP's attempt to force Angola to accept GM food and unmilled grains, by falsely presenting them with a situation of no choice, in spite of the GM-free sources available nationally, regionally and internationally.
The WFP appeared to back down, denying that they had put pressure on Angola, and admitted that actually, no one was expected to starve because of the ban.
It seems that it is only now that the ban has come fully into effect. According to reports, Angola has banned GM foods since December, apart from in Food Aid which must be milled. But the WFP is putting the pressure on Angola yet again, saying that donors such as USAID are cutting back their donations due to the added cost of milling. The obvious implication is that Angolas GM policy will mean less food for the hungry.
But the WFP must understand that GM food aid, which compromises a country's future ability to feed itself, is unacceptable. The WFP has the responsibility to respect a countrys decisions, and should not compromise its future food security. Therefore the WFP should look for solutions that seek to source GM-free or milled food aid, rather than making countries that ask for GM-free food look like difficult customers.
UN spokesman Cristovao Simao however, says that the WFP has been calling for more GM-free food to be sourced, and for donors to give cash for local and regional sourcing. These requests should be supported, and show that the US, which only donates its own surplus GM food instead of money, is the real source of the problem. The WFP and other countries should direct their pressure to the US, instead of Angola.
1. Angola: GM Food Ban Comes Into Effect, Sparks WFP Concern
Article from Reuters/ IRIN. Date: 25 January 2005
2. Angola Bans Genetically Modified Imports
Article from Independent Online. Date: 24 January 2005
3. Angola GMO Ban to Hurt Food Aid Imports
Business report (South Africa), January 25, 2005
4. African Groups Accuse WFP and USAID of Denying Africa's Right to Choose to Reject GM Food Aid
Press Release from Africa Centre for Biosafety and EarthLife Africa.
Date: 4 May 2004
5. Angola rejects GM Food Aid
Article from News 24. Date: 7 April 2004
Christina Scott http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/News/0,6119,2-11-1447_1509711,00.html
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