In Africa

In Africa

Zambia – GMO Legislation

INTRODUCTION

The Draft Labeling Standards are non-binding in the sense that they do not create legally binding obligations and responsibilities. As such, they are also not legally enforceable. The lack of teeth of the standards is not cured by the fact that the Zambian Bureau of Standards, a statutory body, produces the standards. However, the standards do fit well into the efforts underway in Zambia, regarding its establishment of a detection laboratory for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and more generally, its proactive policy on biosafety on the African continent. According to Zambia‘s National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR), the new laboratory is being built to safeguard Zambian’s health and maintain a sustainable environment. The goal is also to have the new facility accredited as a regional and national referral laboratory. It is quite possible that the laboratory may qualify as one of the Biotechnology Centres of Excellence contemplated by the Science and Technology Secretariat established under the auspices of the New Partnership for Africa‘s Development (NEPAD), although no decision has yet been made by NEPAD’s Science and Technology Steering Committee which institutions would form part of the Centre of Excellence networks.

In the “Forward” to

African Agriculture under genetic engineering onslaught

Genetic engineering has made rapid entry into agriculture in the United States, Argentina, Canada, Brazil and South Africa, with these countries accounting for 99% of genetically modified (GM) crops grown globally. Now we are witnessing aggressive attempts, especially by the United States through its agency for international development (USAID) and its genetic engineering industry, to impose GM crops upon Africa under the guise of addressing food security, environmental stress and fighting poverty.

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Explanation And Comments On The Cameroon Biosafety Law Mariam Mayet, April 2004

OVERVIEW

The Cameroon Biosafety Law No 2003/006 titled “Law No 2003/006 of 21 April 2003 To Lay Down Safety Regulations Governing Biotechnology in Cameroon” (“Biosafety Law”) was signed by the President of Cameroon on the 21 April 2003, and passed by the Cameroon Parliament during November 2003. Cameroon is a Party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (“Biosafety Protocol“) The Biosafety Law was probably written in French and translated into English. It is entirely possible that in the course of such translation, the meaning of important concepts and principles have been lost or altered. Detailed explanations and comments are provided in a Table below. The analysis provided in the Table has been grouped around key issues, namely:

Risk Assessment; Authorisations; Safety Measures; Destruction of GMOs that pose risks; Products of GMOs; GMOs that are pharmaceuticals; Prohibition of hazardous substances connected with GMOs; Contained Use, Field Trials; General/environmental release; Waste and gas treatment; Risk Management; Import/Export of GMOs; Decision-making; Accidental releases and emergency responses; Transit; Liability and redress; Labelling,(identification), packaging and marketing; Transport, handling and packaging; Public Awareness , participation and consultation, Confidential information and access to Information, Offences and penalties; and Enforcement.

Having regard to the critical

GM Food aid: Africa denied choice once again?

Controversy over genetically modified (GM) food aid arose in 2000 in Latin America, and Asia, and exploded in 2002, when several southern African countries refused GM food aid during a food crisis. Now, in 2004 the controversy has erupted again after Sudan and Angola imposed restrictions over GM food aid. Food aid has been heavily criticized in the last fifty years, because it serves the interests of certain countries, particularly the US Government, as a tool to inter alia facilitate export surpluses and/or capture new markets. The use of GM food aid by the US has added a new dimension to the debate, because the provision of GM food aid is seen as providing an important back- door entry point for the introduction of genetically modified organism (GMOs) in developing countries.

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Africa: Dumping ground for rejected GE wheat

On the 19th of January 2004 Monsanto announced it had approached the South African government with permission to import its genetically engineered (GE) wheat, known as Round-up Ready wheat, in an obvious pre-emptive attempt to create a much needed market for its GE wheat, because none exists anywhere in the world. This comes at a time when Monsanto is faced with falling profits and increasing consumer aversion to GE foods.

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