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Zambian Cotton Board praises govt policy towards GM crops
Apr '14
The Cotton Board of Zambia has praised the Government’s policy of careful treading in adopting commercialization of biotech or genetically modified (GM) crops, reports Lusaka Times.
Releasing a report on the global status of commercialized biotech and GM crops at the University of Zambia’s School of Agricultural Sciences in Lusaka, Dafulin Kaonga, secretary of Cotton Board, urged the Government to continue with its precautionary policy towards commercialization of biotech crops.
Although some African nations have already adopted GM crops to enhance productivity, Zambia should be cautious in taking a similar step in order to ward off possible negative effects, Mr. Kaonga said.
He said the precautionary approach taken by the Government was good, as it treats the adoption of biotech crops on case by case basis, and all possible risks were evaluated before commercialization can be allowed.
However, the precautionary approach should not be the reason for farmers not having access to the technology if it was proved to be beneficial.
He suggested that the Government should negotiate more favourable terms of engagement with biotechnology companies once it gives green signal for adoption of the technology, to create win-win situation for both the technology provider and Zambian farmers.
Mentioning that the Cotton Development Trust (CDT) has already applied for seeking permission to begin research on biotech cotton, he urged the Government to also consider investing in capacity building so that the country can be able to develop its own GM crops that can be made available to farmers at lower costs.
He added that CDT and other research institutions in Zambia should explore integrated pest management and varietal resistance methods.
According to the report, released by Mr. Kaonga, global area under biotech crops has increased from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to more than 175 million in 2013.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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