More than 2,000 tonnes of GMO maize seed from four provinces

The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has confiscated nearly 2,000 tonnes of genetically modified (GMO) maize seed from four provinces throughout the nation, according to the NBA.

According to a statement published by the Authority Communications Officer Sandra Lombe, the seed that had still to be on the Zambian market was confiscated and will be destroyed in accordance with the Biosafety Act No. 10 of 2007.

Ms Lombe stated that the Authority randomly collected 74 samples of different varieties of maize from some farms fields and warehouses in Lusaka, Central, Southern and Northern provinces and subjected them to GMO test using Polymerase Chain Reaction.

“Of these 74 samples, from various farmers across the four provinces, four samples tested positive to genetic modification and have since been seized on site by the Authority. During the investigation the four samples were subjected to tests at local and international laboratories. The affected farmers have been directed to immediately confine, contain and secure the products as per the provisions of the Biosafety Act,” she said.

“The 2,187 tonnes seized products will be destroyed in the presence of the NBA officials and other relevant authorities. However, investigations into the matter have continued. We are also working with other relevant authorities on the same matter.”

Meanwhile Ms Lombe added that the NBA has continued with the sampling and testing of the seed products from the farms and warehouses countrywide.
“We are happy with the cooperation we have received so far from the farmers, seed growers and seed companies. We are not only sampling from commercial farmers and seed companies but also small scale farmers,” he said.

“Apart from maize seed we are also looking at soya beans. The Biosafety Act prohibits any genetic modification activity on crops or livestock of strategic importance.”

She further said the Authority has continued with its monitoring, inspections and surveillance across the country and the presence of inspectors at the ports of entry has had a positive impact in the monitoring of the inflow of GMO products and products that may contain GMOs.

“We still remain committed to ensuring that any GMO product or a product which may contain GMOs authorized on the market is safe for humans, animals and the environment.”

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