Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Africa , Environment

Genetic Modification

The controversy over African countries accepting GM foods continues as  Zambia continues to   refuse importation of GM foods until it is proven that they pose no threat to the health of the people or the environment.  (GM foods were banned in 2002 )  Reports claim that Zambia is facing a drought and needs 200,000 tones of maize immediately and the US is putting pressure on Zambia to import GM foods.   The ban followed research by Zambian scientists and economists conducted in South Africa, Europe and the US as well as  consultations took place with local farmers, women’s groups, politicians, church leaders and NGOs – sounds very democratic!

Local research concluded

"GM crops are likely to bring many problems, including serious
negative effects on the development of small-scale farming in Zambia —
the basis for the country’s food security system," says agricultural
scientist Bernadette Lubozya, the report’s author.

Lubozya’s report concluded that to ensure sustainable agriculture in
Zambia, rather than adopting GM crops, the country should encourage
farmers to rely more on internal inputs within the farm and its
immediate surroundings.

South Africans are beginning to fight back against the importation and growing of GM food.   South African civil society group SAFeAGE – African Freeze Alliance on Genetic Engineering are calling for an immediate and complete ban on all GM production and importation.  Their site is worth visiting for all the information and facts on GM foods and their impact on our health and environment. 

There are conflicting reports on GM foods worldwide – the pro lobby I suspect are working in the interest of the GM manufacturers such as US corporate giant Monsanto .  Europe is also not very not very keen on GM foods and crops and has recently made moves to ban US imports of GM maize.  However the law varies from country to country with Germany probably having the strictest laws against GM products.

PS – of interest to all you smokers out there  Tanzania growing GM tobacco

3 Comments

  1. I guess our fear of GM crops has more to do with the fact that humanity is delving into the unknown, rather than the dangers they may pose. I however do like the fact that it has stirred such a debate, which cuts across nations and different areas of society.

    “Genetic modification” as a concept is something we cannot run away from. A great deal of the antibiotics used in treatment of infections is produced using genetically modified microorganisms. Flavours and preservatives in canned food products, ingredients for manufacturing washing liquids and soaps are sometimes produced using these GM organisms. So, somehow, GM products are creeping into our lives, albeit silently.

    My biggest opposition to GM crops stems not so much from the dangers they may cause (no one knows how great such dangers may be, or even if they exist) but the fact that a few multinationals like Monsanto (whom you mentioned) are capitalizing on becoming the “world’s GM seed supplier.” I find this to be a dangerous trend, since GM seeds are patented.

    The final solution to the GM crops problem is not one that can be made at a local level. An international treaty will be needed to deal with this issue. Considering the fact that the use of GM crops in human feed is a relatively novel thing, we may have to wait a few more decades for such a treaty to come into being.

    NB: You link to the Monsanto website isn’t functional. You may want to correct it.

  2. You are absolutely correct in saying that GM foods have crept into our food baskets silently. I always check the ingredients in processed foods and other products I buy but even then sometimes it is hard to tell what exactly we are consuming. Sometimes it is frightening to think of what we might be eating particularly young children.

    I would disagree that the solution can only be made at international level. Consumers at ground level have been at the forefront of challenging GM production, influencing government policy and exposing multinationals such as Monsanto.

  3. Kim

    I once heard that tons of wheat is drawn in the oceans to keep the prices of wheat in market intact. I don’t know why they don’t use it for poeple who are dying due to hunger. 🙁