2008 has been declared ‘The Year of the Potato?’ by the UN General Assembly in honour of the vegetable people around the world love – the humble potato. Ironically, South Africa intends it to be the year that the potato is transformed from a food, into a laboratory made pesticide.

The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) has been conducting field trials for several years with a GM potato called Spunta G2, genetically engineered to kill a pest called the Tuber Moth. They have given notice that they will apply to the South African GMO Council for a genera l release permit in the next few days. The first stage will see farmer participatory trials involving growing, cooking and testing trials, followed by the GM potatoes being made available for commercial growing.

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