KELLY NJOMBO – Lusaka
THE Zambia Alliance for Agro-ecology and Biodiversity Conservation (ZAABC) says there is an influx of genetically-modified (GM) food products in some supermarkets due to failure by the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) to carry out its mandate effectively.
ZAABC chairperson Emmanuel Mutamba said there are over 100 products on the shelves of two selected supermarkets in Lusaka that contain or potentially include GM ingredients.
Mr Mutamba said in a statement recently that most consumers are not aware that some of the food products they consume have been prepared genetically.
Recently, the ZAABC wrote to the NBA to stop a named chain store from importing genetically-modified food products.
Mr Mutamba said there are also inconsistencies in the labelling of some food products while others omit the contained information.
â€œSome Zambian chain stores have been importing and selling products containing genetically-modified organism [GMO] ingredients to the Zambian public without their knowledge.
â€œWe are also concerned that despite having the NBA in place, there are still structural and operationalisation gaps in the implementation of the biosafety laws, key of such gaps being the inadequate inspectors on the ground,â€ he said.
Mr Mutamba said there is need to enlighten the public on GMOs in line with consumer rights protection.
â€œThe alliance wishes to join the global movements striving to ensure that the rights of people in as far as deciding on what they wish to consume are respected. We, therefore, request for the opportunity for the alliance to raise this issue of public interest,â€ he said.
The ZAABC alliance members include the Green Living Movement Participatory Ecological Land-Use Management, Community Technology Development Trust, Kasisi Agriculture Training Centre, Zambia Climate Change Network and the East and Southern Africa Small-scale Farmers Forum.
Others include Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust, Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia, Grassroots Trust, Chongwe District Women Development Association, Caritas Zambia
KELLY NJOMBO – Lusaka