GENETIC MODIFICATION

Reacting to a government announcement that it would be forming a team to look into the feasibility of introducing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into the country and to prepare relevant rules to govern such imports, a network of some forty civil society organisations working with smallholder farmers cautioned the government. It said that stakeholders in the agricultural sector must be involved in approving this move. It claimed that GM crops and foods had a potentially negative impact on the environment, economy, culture and health. Even GM crop-producing countries had been unable to ensure the safety of GM crops. They added that GMOs reduced small-scale farmers into ‘slaves’ for big companies in the rich countries, which had a monopoly of the technology, setting the stage for diminished food production. Blind adoption of the technology would bring a lot of problems to farmers as it would lead to dependency, loss of natural biodiversity, promotion of inappropriate farming systems and denial of a farmers’ right to save, share and choose seeds to plant.

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