Banned genetically modified soya beans smuggled into Zambia (7/12/2004)

Banned genetically modified soya beans smuggled into Zambia
Xinhuanet, 2004-12-07

LUSAKA, Dec. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- The Zambian government is setting up stiff surveillance measures at all entry points on its borders following reports that banned genetically modified soya beans entered the country illegally.

Zambian Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Mundia Sikatana told Xinhua in an interview Tuesday genetically modified soya beans was entering the country using the southern border entries, a situation he described as "most unfortunate."

"The policy of the government is that we will not allow any genetically modified products to enter into the country and we are following up the reports that genetically modified soya beans is being smuggled into the country," he said.

However, the Zambian minister could not state from which country the soya beans was coming from, saying "we have since launched investigations to find out from which country the soya beans is coming from but all I can tell you is that it is entering the country from the southern part."

He said the government is going to improve phytosanitary surveillance measures at all border posts to inspect all agricultural products coming into the country.

Zambia banned genetically modified products from entering the country in 2002 at the height of severe hunger when genetically modified maize was brought into the country.

This brought a lot of debate on the safety of this maize to both the human beings and the environment, a situation that led government to stop the distribution of the maize to hunger stricken areas.

Currently the country is developing a policy as well as legislation on the handling of genetically modified products.

"The government's policy on genetically modified products is that we are not going to allow any such products until we put in place proper measures on the handling of these products," he said.


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