SADC food aid policy on cards

Community Technology Development Trust director, Andrew Mushita told New Ziana that there was a need to come up with a food aid policy that would ensure the region accessed sufficient and safe food.

“It will determine who should give food aid, what kind of food is given and from what sources,” he said.

He noted that with the advent of genetically modified organisms, there was a need for a clear-cut regional policy on food aid to protect the beneficiaries.

The conference, to take place on August 29 to 30, will bring together representatives of various agricultural and environmental organizations from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland.

The stakeholders are expected to come up with a clear-cut regional policy on food aid, especially with regards to GMOs, that they will propose to their governments.

The inconsistency of policies has been a thorny issue for a long time in the SADC region.

Zambia refused accept food aid with any traits of GMOs while on the other hand, South Africa had no problems with it and Zimbabwe set conditions for accepting such.

The countries will discuss the possibility of Western countries sending cash, instead of food, to affected countries.

“This would give the countries the freedom to choose whether they want to buy GMOs or not rather than have it imposed on them,” said Mushita.

He said this could also promote regional agricultural trade where a country with surplus food could sell to the affected countries.

The SADC region has been experiencing periodic food shortages due to climate change, prompting some Western countries to offer aid. ‘ New Ziana.

July 2006
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