Adopt genetic engineering, Zambia urged

THE International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) has called on Zambia to create an environment that will enable the country adopt production of genetically modified crops.
ISAAA launched a report on the global status of commercialised biotech crops to enhance awareness on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Ninety percent of the world’s 18 million farmers in 28 countries, including those in the small-scale sector, grew biotech crops in 2014, according to the report.
Some of the African countries that are growing biotech crops are Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Cameroon, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya and South Africa.
Cotton Development Trust (CDT)cotton breeder Nchimunya Bbebe said lack of science-based and cost-time effective regulatory systems is hampering the adopting of GM technology in Africa.
Mr Bbebe said at a briefing and the launch of the global status report of commercialised biotech crops for 2014 last week that there is need to share knowledge on crop biotechnology to better inform the community about new technologies.
“To overcome the misconceptions and fears in people’s minds, we thought it was wise to partner with ISAAA in the launching of this report in Zambia to bridge the gap among the farming communities, policy-makers and researchers on GM crops or biotechnology crop.
“It is our hope that the report will provide information on how the crop biotechnology is being used in other countries,” he said.
He suggested that there is urgent need for responsible and rigorous regulation to suit the needs of small-scale farmers.
ISAAA is a non-profit international organisation that shares the benefits of crop biotechnology with various stakeholders, particularly resource-poor farmers in developing countries, through sharing biotechnology applications.
Last year, (CDT) partnered with ISAAA to enhance awareness in Zambia on the benefit of GMOs.

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