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Refusing GM Food Aid

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Joe Ibrahim

on 13 December 2013

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Transcript of Refusing GM Food Aid

Refusing GM Food Aid
A Case Study of Zambia in 2002

Case Study: Zambia in 2002
3 million (30%) people faced extreme hunger
~60 % below national poverty line
Staple Crop – Maize
High rate of poverty, food insecurity, HIV/AIDS, corruption, and low agricultural productivity
Current GMO Policy-Zambia
Strongest anti-GMO stance in Africa
.01% max trace
Strict enforcement
Some "ready to explore", but little change

14 million faced severe hunger
Widespread Drought
Poverty and Disease
Southern Africa’s Food Crisis:2002
Southern Africa’s Food Crisis: 2002
The World Responds
WFP called on Western nations for financial resources and food aid
U.S – largest WFP donor
Zambia – rejected 35,000 tons of U.S food aid
Possibility of GM
$50 million
Domino Effec

Why the Refusal?
Zambian leaders cited…
Potential, unknown health concerns
Economic concerns
Cross pollination
Environmental effects
U.S. manipulation

“We may be poor and experiencing food risks…but I am not prepared to accept that we should use our people as guinea pigs”
“We would rather starve than get something toxic”

President Levy Mwanawasa (2002)

Bt Corn
Bt=Bacillus thuringiensis
Protect against European corn borer
Cry Gene
Used extensively in U.S
Positive safety reports

Legal Implications
WFP Policy

Autonomy rests with recipient country

National regulations upheld
International Firestorm
Pushes for Zambia to accept
Accuses EU of manipulation
Respectful of Zambia's decision
Alternate strategies

International Firestorm
“For the sake of a continent threatened by famine
I urge the European governments to end their opposition…
many African nations are…worried that their products will be shut out of important European markets” (2004)
International Firestorm
African leaders who refused aid should be tried
“for the highest crimes against humanity in the highest courts of the world”
Tony Hall (2003) – U.S ambassador to UN FAO
International Firestorm
“Zambia is a sovereign country and makes its own decisions…
Zambians do not need to be heroic to assert their sovereignty”
-Pascal Lamy (2003)
EU Trade Commissioner

Ethical Implications
GM AID could have saved/improved lives
Non-GM aid with same ability
GM proven safe
Unknown health effects
Social Implications
“Iron Triangle” of U.S economic interest in food aid
Shipping Companies

Legal Implications
United Nations Charter – Chapter 1, Article 2
"This organization is based on the
principle of the sovereign equality
of all its members”
Current GMO Policy: Zambia
Are they on to something?
2010: World Bank Recognition
GDP – up 6%/year from 2005-2012
Copper largely to thank
2010 – UN Human Development Index
2013 – Maize shortage
Current GMO Policy: Zambia
Change in the air?

ZNFU : Ready to “explore”
President Michael Sata critical of ban
But no changes to GMO policy

Current International GMO Policy
Diverse Points of View
Increase yield, efficiency
Decrease Pesticides
Spark scientific, agricultural innovation

Lacking in GM technology
Extreme weather
Health/ecological concerns
Affect on exports
Anti-GMO movement

Was it ethical for Zambia to refuse the GM food aid?
Is it ethical for the U.S. to push GM acceptance?
What do you think the role of anti-GM groups should be in developing countries/food aid?
Is GM food an answer for alleviating hunger in developing countries?
International Firestorm
“It is arrogant to tell the Zambians what food they must accept”
Doreen Stabinski, Greenpeace official (2002)

Legal Implications
Illegal importation
Farmers’ Rights

Social Implications
Losing the EU market
GM regulations
Anti-GMO attitude

Social Implications
GM dependence
Full transcript