Opinion And Analysis: By Mariam Mayet, african Centre For Biosafety
South Africa’s ban on GM import approvals
South Africa’s pro-genetic engineering (GE) stance is well documented and enshrined in national government policy. During the period 2001-4, South Africa’s Executive Council (ExCo) established under the Genetically Modified Organisms Act (?GMO Act?) has allowed the importation into South Africa of millions of tonnes of cheap genetically modified (GM) maize, much to the delight of the animal feed, meat and dairy industries in South Africa.
During September/October 2005, the ExCo took a decision not to approve any more new GM applications for the purposes of importation into South Africa as food, feed and processing (also known as commodity import applications). This decision was taken by the ExCo in order to accommodate the serious concerns raised by one of the ExCo members, the national Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), regarding price distortions of GM maize and its concomitant negative impacts on the South African economy as a whole. Nevertheless, the decision affects all new GM commodity import applications.
Currently, the DTI is studying these impacts and early indications are that price distortions indeed exist. It is anticipated that it will