STAKEHOLDER CONCERNS ON ZAMBIA’S LATEST DRAFT GMO POLICY
Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity -ZAAB successfully conducted a a public consultation meeting on biosafety and Zambia’s development of a new Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy (version made publicly available as of 8 September 2022).
In June of this year, a petition signed by hundreds of people and numerous organisations, appealed to the Office of the President to halt the ongoing process that continued to reflect a pre- set policy agenda. The petition also highlighted discomfort that the process has been supported by the AUDA-NEPAD and previously by COMESA. Both agencies are part of the co-ordinated strategy supported by industry, to create enabling policy environments on the continent through various channels, including NEPAD, RECs, bi-lateral agreements etc.
Whether for or against the use of genetic engineering in Zambia’s agriculture sector, or making personal and ethical choices of what food to consume, the ZAAB members have maintained that the policy development should be nationally driven, reflect a neutral development stance, whilst ensuring international safety and human rights obligations. Given the significant historical context and the market opportunities it has created, this policy change should not have been taken lightly nor driven by a harmonized continental or industry agenda.