ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

12 September 2002


1. Japan asks WFP to supply Zambia with corns that are not GM
2. UN respects Zambia's rejection to GM food
3. Zambia to import non-GM maize from South Africa
4. Quotes - 'Who is starving whom here?'

Other headlines:
Zambia says won't feed refugees GM milled maize - ZAMBIA

China slows soymeal exports on GMO worries - CHINA


1. Japan asks WFP to supply Zambia with corns that are not GM

Jiji Press Ticker Service September 10, 2002
Tokyo, Sept. 10
The Japanese government said Tuesday it will extend a total of 12.4 million dollars in emergency grant aid to seven nations in southern Africa, including Mozambique and Zambia. The money will be used to support the food aid program organized by the U.N. World Food Program that is to supply 34,000 tons of corns to the region hit by a food crisis, government officials said. The officials said Japan has asked the WFP to supply Zambia with corns that are not genetically modified, as the nation has declined to accept genetically modified crops offered by the United States.

 The emergency aid is part of Japan's 30-million-dollar aid package for southern Africa, announced in late August, they said.


2. UN respects Zambia's rejection to GM food

XINHUA GENERAL NEWS SERVICE September 9, 2002, Monday

LUSAKA, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations fully respects the Zambian government's stance not to accept genetically modified relief food, said UN Secretary General Koffi Annan's special envoy for humanitarian crisis in southern Africa here on Monday. At a meeting with Zambian Vice President Enoch Kavindele, James Morris said it is the right and responsibility of the Zambian government to make any such decision with due regard to Zambia's national interests. He said the UN agencies will work hard to be responsive and forthcoming in a bid to pave a way forward and mitigate the food crisis in the country. Morris said his mission as mandated by Annan is to meet with representatives of donor governments, UN agencies and non governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the relief and development work so as to compile a report that will be presented to the UN for action. The UN takes full recognition of the fact that the food crisis in southern Africa is the most serious food relief currently in the world and the UN will work with governments in the region to ensure that the crisis do not repeat itself in future, he stressed. Kavindele maintained that Zambia's decision not to accept genetically modified food relief should not be seen as an unappreciative move on the part of his government but was taken in the national interests. He explained that the government's main fear is the fact that if GM grain is taken up by the Zambian government, Zambia will lose out on the European market as that market does not accept maize grown under GM conditions. In light of the government's emphasis on agriculture, the government will seek to grow crops which will be accepted on the international market, he said. Kavindele pointed out that the government's vision to make agriculture the engine of the economy will prove futile if GM maize is accepted and planted. Morris arrived in Lusaka on Saturday as part of a two-week mission to six southern Africa countries where an estimated 13 million people are increasingly gripped by hunger and widespread suffering. While in the country, Morris and his team of experts will do some site visits to see how people in the semi-urban areas are coping with the crisis and hear their needs in order to make recommendations on what more can be done to respond and safeguard them against greater risk, according to UN officials.


3. Zambia to import non-GM maize from South Africa to deal with food crisis

BBC Monitoring Africa - Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide
Monitoring September 10, 2002, Tuesday
SOURCE: ZNBC Radio 2, Lusaka, in English 0500 gmt 10 Sep 02
Excerpt from report by Zambian radio on 10 September
Zambia is to receive 2,000 tonnes of non-genetically modified yellow maize from South Africa. This is according to UN special envoy for humanitarian crisis in the southern African region, James Morris. He said this is part of the UN response to the hunger situation that affects 2.5 million people in Zambia. Morris said the imports will also include wheat, because it is easy to find and not expensive. The UN envoy said the decision was reached at a meeting with Vice-President Enock Kavindele and other government officials. He said rice would be difficult to source, and too expensive, adding that the UN would consider buying maize within Zambia, where it is available. He also announced the launch of a consolidated appeal involving UN agencies and NGOs to the hunger situation in southern Africa. Morris described the hunger situation in Zambia as critical, because 70 per cent of the population is below 18 years old...


4. Quotes - 'Who is starving whom here?'

"Asked if people were going 'too far' by saying that gene-altered humanitarian exports were part of a strategy to spread the crops around the world, [Neil E. Harl, a professor of economics at Iowa State University] said: 'I'm not sure that is going too far.' "

"If the US insists on imposing this genetically modified maize on our people, we will be justified in questioning their motive." Editorial, Dignity in hunger, The Post, Zambia, July 30, 2002

"We have been pushed around by the way the Americans have put pressure on this issue." EU development commissioner, Poul Nielson on the US food aid strategy

"These governments have screwed up and are looking for someone to blame."
Andrew Bennett, Monsanto's head biotechnologist in Johannesburg
Against the grain, The Weekend Australian, August 31, 2002

"It is highly unethical not to just cover the costs for milling. Tell me how much it costs to drop one bomb on Afghanistan. Who is starving whom here?" Carol Thompson, a political economist at Northern Arizona University

"Some African nations choose ignorance and death. .....As usual, it is the United States that stepped up to help these countries, not the well-fed European nations that are leading the mob against biotech crops. When that aid is refused by a president who would rather let his people die than believe the sweeping evidence that biotech grains are safe for the vast majority of people - well, the ignorance and callousness are just staggering. The United States can only offer. It should continue to do so. Sad as all of this is, the innocent victims of famine and ignorance are not on America's conscience."
The Omaha World-Herald, September 5, 2002
EDITORIAL U.S. conscience is clear

"...[African] government subsidies on maize production have been discontinued under pressure from the World Trade Organization [but] it now seems that it's OK for the starving here to eat subsidised maize, just as long as it is GM and grown in America." Andrew Clegg, Windhoek, Namibia in a letter to New Scientist

"Beggars can't be choosers." A State Department official, commenting on southern African nations' resistance to accepting shipments of US food aid containing genetically engineered ingredients

"Blair's chief scientific adviser denounced the United States' attempts to force the technology into Africa as a 'massive human experiment'. In a scathing attack on President Bush's administration, Professor David King also questioned the morality of the US's desire to flood genetically modified foods into African countries, where people are already facing starvation in the coming months." The Observer, UK, Sep 1, 2002,6903,784262,00.html

See also:
Oxfam condemns the distribution of food aid contaminated with GMOs
Another Poisoned Chalice in Africa

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