Minister of Higher Education, Michael Kaingu, said the establishment of the Bio-safety law puts the country on a strong footing to tackle genetically modified organisms.

BiotechnologyThe law, he said, deals with various issues regarding genetically modified organisms such as undesirable effects, risk assessment, socioeconomic impact, liability and redress and recognition of possible conflict between conservation of biodiversity and trade.

“To date, development of genetically modified organisms has continued to attract attention from various stakeholders, particularly in relation to concerns over risks to human health, animal an environmental safety,” he said in a column published in the Zambia Daily Mail.

The establishment of the law has also resulted in the creation of a National Bio-safety Authority, a government agency whose key responsibility will be to regulate the research, development, application, import, transit and contained use of genetically modified organisms in the country in order to ensure that safety of citizens.

The government has also launched the first ever booklet entitled “Biotechnology and Bio-safety Scientific Terms and Phrases” to facilitate a comprehensive and informed participation of the public in issues of biotechnology and bio-safety.

Zambia hit international headlines in 2002 when late President Levy Mwanawasa rejected genetically modified maize donated by the international community to help the country which had faced a hunger crisis arising from a drought the country experienced the previous season.

The government rejected the maize on grounds of insufficient scientific information and understanding of genetically modified organisms. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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