The proposed biosafety regulatory regime (hereafter referred to as the “draft biosafety law” or “biosafety law”) of the Republic of Mozambique consists of a draft Decree of Council of Ministers, containing the biosafety regulation and 2 draft technical guidelines for risk evaluation as well as public awareness and participation in biosafety and biotechnology related issues.
The biosafety regulation itself consists of a preamble, 27 articles, organised in 9 chapters and 6 annexes, and a glossary of terms.
The draft biosafety law is typically a permitting system, based on a step-bystep, case-by-case risk assessment, evaluation and decision-making that adopt a risk management approach to genetic engineering in food agriculture and medicine. By this we mean that Mozambique views genetic engineering as having a role to play in agriculture, food security and human health care, but that the risks have to be managed by the creation of an enabling legislative environment, to this end. In other words, Mozambique will follow the route taken by South Africa and permit the entry of GMOs into its agriculture systems, after a desk- top evaluation of the risk assessment data provide by an applicant.
Currently, Mozambique’s seed law prohibits the import and planting of GM seed. However, Mozambique accepts genetically modified (GM) food aid, including and especially from the United States. According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the US government has allocated nearly $12.6 million in humanitarian assistance to Mozambique for 2006. USAID‘s Food for Progress (FFP) has provided 15.500 MT of P.L480 Title II emergency food assistance valued at %11.6 million to Mozambique through the World Food Programme. (USAID, Southern Africa- Food Insecurity, February 3 2006).
Whilst we do not wish to dwell on the politics of huger and food aid, we point out that the opening or maintaning of markets is a key objective of Public Law 480 (PL 480). PL 480 clearly asserts that the purpose of US food aid programmes is to ‘develop and expand export markets for United States agricultural commodities’.1 A position repeatedly pronounced by government officials: ‘The opening of new markets is immensely important for the future of U.S. agriculture.’2 Moroever, US agribusiness such as Cargill and Arthur Daniel Midlands (ADM), which control US maize exports, have been the main beneficiaries of US food aid Programmes.